El Buscador, I appreciate your thoughtful responses and links. I'm adding this note at the beginning of what I already wrote below because I don't have time to respond to you.
Fun fact: Did you know that the word Ukraine means "borderland" in Russian?
There are so many experts here who should be on the Disinformation Governance Board to curate the truth. It's hard to argue with such rigorous truth-seeking as illuminated in #45. Unless of course one were to try to understand The Other, then a counter argument could be found. But thanks to the DGB here, we may all be spared the burden of thought.
#43, I have trouble believing this is a resource war. That is a common theory that makes little sense given Russia's ample resources and absence of hunger. That it is a land grab for a strategic land bridge with naval access to the Black Sea is an argument I buy, but not a land grab for wheat or gas.
To address another of your points, "What's best for themselves" might have been to not enshrine the pursuit of NATO membership into the Ukrainian constitution in 2019. In the Western Hemisphere, the US allows states the right to self determination only to the extent that it violates the Monroe Doctrine. Soviet missiles in Cuba, for example, represented a foreign power at the US doorstep, which was unacceptable to Kennedy. Yet Kennedy avoided war by de-escalating. He secretly negotiated to remove US missiles from the Russian border in Turkey in exchange for Soviets removing their missiles from Cuba.
Not so NATO in Ukraine. NATO doubled-down. Under Trump and then even more so under Biden, NATO poured in weapons to Ukraine despite more than a decade of warnings from Moscow and a war in Georgia to prove they meant business about "no NATO." The Ukraine border nearly completes a military ring around Russia. And that long Ukraine border represents a significant proportion of the ring. A coordinated military ring around Russia would give those that control it the power to dictate policy, controlling land and sea trade and military routes. NATO has proven they don't want to let Russia in their club, a club intended to counter Soviet aggression (a self-fulfilling prophecy). So Russia has to believe they are the enemy; and the enemy is at the gate. Ukraine is not the enemy, Putin reckons, the US-led NATO coalition is.
I think Putin is enforcing his own sort of Monroe Doctrine. Let's call it the Moscow Doctrine. Is it a just war? Let the ethicists decide. Is it justifiable from a Russian preemptive national defense point of view? I can see it. Was it predictable? Yes. Hard to believe but not without warning. Is it what's best for Ukraine? Absolutely not.
#41, I agree war is horrible. (Who doesn't?) If we spent more time dwelling on the horrors of war, maybe there would be less of it. Ukraine was becoming a de facto member of NATO. Putin did not need the Ukrainians to sign the paperwork to see the growing NATO force depositing weapons near his border. Putin knew that prior to Zelenski, back in 2014, the US backed a regime change to remove another legitimately elected leader in Ukraine, Yanukovych, and install one that would pursue pro-NATO anti-Russia policies. The US-backed anti-Russia regime change next door must've been pretty alarming for ol' Cold War Putin, especially after NATO had denied his petition for membership. Indeed the first act of the new government was to outlaw Russian language. Russia responded to these events by annexing Crimea. Tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated from there. Over the next eight years 17,000 eastern Ukrainians, including civilians men, women and children died at the hands of the Ukrainian military and paramilitary, a large number of whom were known Nazi ultranationalists getting a little of the ol' ultraviolence.