The collective failure to acknowledge, from the very beginning, the truth about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ill-intentioned policies in Ukraine has dual roots. One is a diplomatic blindness, and the second is a media that has failed to deliver on the basic mission to inform their audiences of the facts.

The current tensions have roots that go back to early 2014, when Russia invaded and began occupying parts of Ukraine. In fact, back when Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and kickstarted hostilities in the Donbas, Ukraine was constitutionally a neutral country, writes Paul Niland in Europe’s Edge.

The collective failure to acknowledge, from the very beginning, the truth about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ill-intentioned policies in Ukraine has dual roots. One is a diplomatic blindness, and the second is a media that has failed to deliver on the basic mission to inform their audiences of the facts.

The diplomatic failure is in part based on the notion that we need to keep doing “business as usual” because Russia is an important economy and key supplier of gas to the West (Germany, for example, relies on Russia for about half its gas consumption.) This has kept the alliance of democracies that support Ukraine from applying proportionate costs to Russia in response to its behavior.

Putin supports dictators. He has allied with Bashar al-Assad in carrying out war crimes in Syria, he has allied with Lukashenko in ending rightful popular protests against the theft of the democratic choice of the people of Belarus, and he has most recently allied with the embattled Kazakh President in crushing dissent, and killing scores of protesters in the process. At the same time, Putin works (at arm’s length, but with obvious synergy) to undermine the concept of democracy across the European Union and elsewhere. There should be no “business as usual” as long as Putin continues these practices.

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