The West labels the conflict in Ukraine as a “war” or even a “Russian invasion”. This characterization is enough to imply that the Russians are wrong and the Ukrainians are right.

The Russians refer to the same conflict as a “special military operation”. They see themselves as having a responsibility to protect the victims of a civil war. They claim they did not invade Ukraine and have no intention of annexing it. They are simply acting in compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 2202.

Two facts indicate that it is indeed a civil war:

 A civil war actually did take place in Ukraine from 2014 to 2022. According to the government in Kiev, at least 16,000 people were killed. The Russian Investigative Commission puts the number closer to 20,000.

 According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 7,822,309 Ukrainians have fled their country since 24 February 2022. However, while 4,969,914 took up refuge in the West, 2,852,395 were admitted into Russia.

Acnowledging these facts is not enough to prove that Russia is right and should not prevent us from questioning its interpretation of resolution 2202, nor from considering that it acts in an extremely brutal way to protect populations in danger.