A few days before Russian troops invaded Ukraine, Putin justified the decision to make war by claiming that Ukraine did not exist. It was a fake nation, invented by Lenin.


The Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler debunked Putin’s web of lies.

The reality is that Ukrainian culture and language have existed for centuries and a Ukrainian nationalist movement sprang up in the mid-1800s, angering the czars. While parts of what is now Ukraine was part of the Russian empire, the rest of the state was, at various times, under the control of Poland, Lithuania and Austria-Hungary.
Moreover, when Ukrainians were given a choice of remaining with Russia in a 1991 national referendum, 84 percent of eligible voters went to the polls — and more than 90 percent, including many non-Ukrainians, cast ballots for independenc

Putin made the absurd claim that Ukraine posed a threat to Russia because it was developing nuclear weapons.

The fact is that Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in 1994 in exchange for recognition of its sovereignty. Russia signed the agreement, called the Budapest Memorandum.

Kessler writes:

This is sheer fantasy. There is no evidence that Ukraine wants to develop nuclear weapons — or that it even has the capacity to do so, given the ruined state of the economy.

There was a cache of more than 1,000 strategic nuclear weapons on Ukraine’s soil when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. That made Ukraine instantly the world’s third biggest nuclear power, with more weapons than Britain, France and China combined. But the country gave up the stockpile for what seemed like a good deal at the time. In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, Russia, along with the United States and Britain, agreed to “refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine” in exchange for Ukraine’s joining the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Now that Russia has essentially ripped up the Budapest Memorandum, some Ukrainians have wondered whether it was a bad bargain. “Ukraine has received security guarantees for abandoning the world’s third nuclear capability,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech this month at the Munich Security Conference. “We don’t have that weapon. We also have no security.”