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Unpacking Putin's narratives on the war with Ukraine

Russia's justifications – fighting Ukrainian neo-Nazis and 'whataboutisms' – have evolved, just like its President's views on Nato over the years.

Rescuers working amid the remains of a residential building destroyed by Russian shelling in Borodyanka, Ukraine, on April 8, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS
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As hostilities in Ukraine enter their fourth month and Nato looks set to add two more members to its ranks, it is perhaps timely to look back at the Russian justifications for its "special military operation" against Ukraine and how they have evolved.

Two main reasons have been articulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his coterie to explain why Moscow embarked on this military action - the "de-Nazification" of Ukraine, and the national security threat posed by the prospect of Nato expansion. How warranted are they?

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