Putin’s colonial mentality – “Ukrainians – you’re really Russian – you should be one with us – I’m so keen to deepen our friendship that I’m prepared to bomb and kill thousands of you to make this happen.“
Biggest reason why Putin can even contemplate this? The glaring lack of a common European army. All European countries are stuck in the past. They’d rather be weak and divided and individually puny, and have their precious “national sovereignties” (the British can’t even bear to be in a mere trading partnership with their closest neighbours; but, in truth, there is little popular appetite in any European country for a proper United States of Europe); instead of pooling their sovereignties and, however belatedly, taking their place on the world stage as a counter-weight to Russia, China and the Americans.
In Britain, this is the “blue passport” mentality; in Ireland, it’s the “neutrality” mentality.
One wishes that they’d all grow up and be pragmatic about what so obviously needs to be done to promote and defend Europe; but one has to be realistic about people in the Internet age – rationality is in steep decline.