On the night of February 23-24, 2022, Russian troops entered Ukraine from the eastern, northern (Russian and Belarusian) and southern (Crimean) frontlines as a “peacekeeping” operation, according to the Russian government. The invasion occurs a few days after the Kremlin recognized the independence of the separatist regions of Donbass (Luhansk and Donetsk). The conflict broke out at a time of increasing independence from Moscow (Orange Revolution of 2004, Maidan Revolution of 2014) and a gradual rapprochement with the Western powers (European Union and NATO). This dual dynamic had been the catalyst for the annexation of Crimea in 2014 after the removal and exile of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Ukraine remains the scene of a struggle for influence between NATO and Russia.
While Moscow projects its regional power ambitions in Ukraine, the extension of NATO and the installation of military bases in Eastern Europe is thus designated by Russia as a direct threat to its vital interests and a betrayal of the commitments made by the United States in February 1990 (non-enlargement of NATO to the East). Tensions accelerated in April 2021 when Russia assembled its armed forces on the Ukrainian border. Their number reached 100,000 men by the end of the year. The diplomatic machine got bogged down after NATO refused the security guarantees proposed by Russia (non-membership of Ukraine in NATO and limitation of personnel and equipment deployed in Eastern Europe).