MIKE MADDEN—NATO and U.S. officials said regular units of the Russian military crossed a few kilometers into Ukrainian territory on August 2014, which Russia denied, when the separatist forces had been pushed eastward toward the Russian border and hundreds of civilians had been killed. On Aug. 25, 2014, 10 Russian paratroopers were captured 20 km inside the Ukrainian border.
Nuland called this “Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine.” The incursion would be more properly characterized as Russia exercising the liberal interventionists’ favorite Responsibility to Protect doctrine.
As happened in Georgia in 2008, a government militarily attacked its own people and Russia intervened to drive the military forces back and protect the local population. In that 2008 case, a European Union investigation determined that Georgia, not Russia, was the aggressor.