From Mike Whitney at Zero Hedge:
“On February 16, 2022, a full week before Putin sent combat troops into Ukraine, the Ukrainian Army began the heavy bombardment of the area (in east Ukraine) occupied by mainly ethnic Russians…
The bombardment dramatically intensified as the week went on until it reached a peak on February 19, when a total of 2,026 artillery strikes were recorded. Keep in mind, the Ukrainian Army was, in fact, shelling civilian areas along the Line of Contact that were occupied by other Ukrainians.”
Scott Ritter: “Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing Article 51 as his authority, ordered what he called a ‘special military operation’…. under Article 51, there can be no doubt as to the legitimacy of Russia’s contention that the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass had been subjected to a brutal eight-year-long bombardment that had killed 14,000 people.… Moreover, Russia claims to have documentary proof that the Ukrainian Army was preparing for a massive military incursion into the Donbass which was pre-empted by the Russian-led ‘special military operation.'”
From Israel Shamir at Unz Review:
On December 15, 2021 Russia sent an ultimatum to the US and NATO. Two days later it was published, and the Russian Foreign Office invited the West to sign up and to agree to it, or at least begin discussing it. Not only was it not signed, it wasn’t even properly acknowledged. It was blatantly ignored, as though it were a demand from a teenager to an adult.
From the Russian Foreign Ministry on December 17, 2021:
The United States of America and the Russian Federation… have agreed as follows:
The Parties shall cooperate on the basis of principles of indivisible, equal and undiminished security and to these ends:
shall not undertake actions nor participate in or support activities that affect the security of the other Party;
shall not implement security measures adopted by each Party individually or in the framework of an international organization, military alliance or coalition that could undermine core security interests of the other Party.
The Parties shall seek to ensure that all international organizations, military alliances and coalitions in which at least one of the Parties is taking part adhere to the principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations.
The Parties shall not use the territories of other States with a view to preparing or carrying out an armed attack against the other Party or other actions affecting core security interests of the other Party.
The United States of America shall undertake to prevent further eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and deny accession to the Alliance to the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The United States of America shall not establish military bases in the territory of the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, use their infrastructure for any military activities or develop bilateral military cooperation with them.
The Parties shall refrain from deploying their armed forces and armaments, including in the framework of international organizations, military alliances or coalitions, in the areas where such deployment could be perceived by the other Party as a threat to its national security, with the exception of such deployment within the national territories of the Parties.
The Parties shall refrain from flying heavy bombers equipped for nuclear or non-nuclear armaments or deploying surface warships of any type, including in the framework of international organizations, military alliances or coalitions, in the areas outside national airspace and national territorial waters respectively, from where they can attack targets in the territory of the other Party.
The Parties shall maintain dialogue and cooperate to improve mechanisms to prevent dangerous military activities on and over the high seas, including agreeing on the maximum approach distance between warships and aircraft.
The Parties shall undertake not to deploy ground-launched intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles outside their national territories, as well as in the areas of their national territories, from which such weapons can attack targets in the national territory of the other Party.
The Parties shall refrain from deploying nuclear weapons outside their national territories and return such weapons already deployed outside their national territories at the time of the entry into force of the Treaty to their national territories. The Parties shall eliminate all existing infrastructure for deployment of nuclear weapons outside their national territories.
The Parties shall not train military and civilian personnel from non-nuclear countries to use nuclear weapons. The Parties shall not conduct exercises or training for general-purpose forces, that include scenarios involving the use of nuclear weapons.
The Treaty shall enter into force from the date of receipt of the last written notification on the completion by the Parties of their domestic procedures necessary for its entry into force.
From the cited Mike Whitney:
Zelensky actually agreed to neutrality in negotiations with Moscow in March, but Washington prevented the Ukrainian president from going through with the deal which means that the Biden administration is largely responsible for the ongoing conflict…
Angela Merkel revealed in her interview on December 7, 2022. Merkel said, “The 2014 Minsk agreement was an attempt to give time to Ukraine. It also gave time to become stronger as can be seen today. The Ukraine of 2014 and 2015 is not the modern Ukraine.”
Putin said, “One day Russia will have to reach an agreement with Ukraine, but Germany and France betrayed Russia, and now they are helping Ukraine with weapons.”