We need to splash cold water on our collective faces in the West. The invasion of Ukraine is indeed marginally related to Putin’s fear of western, NATO expansion, and it is justified through propaganda by allusions to Russian mystical destiny and the Russian Orthodox Church with its roots in Ukraine.
It may even have been launched with one eye on the expansionist model of China’s New Silk Road, and of course, the demographics of Eurasia which may see Christian Russia overwhelmed by a Muslim world. I have discussed these elsewhere as likely factors in Putin’s war in Ukraine.
But what really drives Putin’s War is the battle to extend and maintain the tentacles of the Russian octopus state into and throughout Ukraine. The riches of Ukraine are part of the riches of Russia being siphoned off by the tentacles of Putin’s vast FSB (Federal Security Service) organizations teamed with organized crime and a vast array of fabricated “private” companies.