When Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, many in the West were left stunned at his act of brutal imperialism. To those who had been paying attention, however, the warning signs of the bloodshed and slaughter to come had been there for years.
Tracing the relationship between the two countries from the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 to Putin’s invasion in 2022, what emerges from this gripping and accessible book is a portrait of a nation caught in a geopolitical tug of war between Russia and the West. While Russia is identified as the sole aggressor, we see how Western bodies such as the EU and NATO unrealistically raised Ukraine’s expectations of membership before dashing them, leaving Ukraine without formal allies and fatally exposed to Russian aggression.
As a former international observer, Samir Puri was present for several of the major events covered in this book. He uses this experience to ask honestly: how did we get here? Why does Vladimir Putin view Ukraine as the natural property of Russia? Did the West handle its dealings with these countries prudently? Or did it inflame the tensions left amidst the ruins of the Soviet Union? Were there any missed opportunities to avert the war? And how might this conflict end?