"Moscow's intervention is testing several fundamental norms of world politics: It challenges established principles of sovereignty and nonintervention, it raises the specter of a return to great power spheres of influence, and it elevates the principle of nationality over citizenship. Moreover, it has already exposed, yet again, the weakness of collective security in the face of destabilizing action by a great power," writes CFR Senior Fellow Stewart M. Patrick.
"Consider the irony that, while Putin's officials justified the invasion by citing the need to 'protect Russians in Ukraine,' Putin's police forces were arresting and beating Russians on the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg for protesting against war. More than 300 people were arrested Sunday alone," writes Vladimir V. Kara-Murza in the Washington Post.
"Russia has a strong interest in nominally retaining Crimea as part of Ukraine. From the disintegration of the Soviet Union onward, Crimea, with its traditionally separatist leanings, was always a destabilizing factor. It served as a direct avenue of Russian pressure on Ukraine, and also guaranteed almost a million 'pro-Russian' votes in Ukrainian elections, ensuring the dominance of the pro-Russian eastern half of the country over the nationalist western half," writes Ruslan Pukhov in the New York Times.