Putin says Ukraine was ‘created by Russia.’ Here are the arguments he makes to undermine Ukrainian statehood.

Heavy artillery is loaded onto a Russian army carrier about 18 miles from the border with Ukraine in Rostov Oblast, Russia, on Feb. 22. (Photo for The Washington Post)

The “beginning of an invasion” of Ukraine by Russia is underway, the White House said Tuesday after the Kremlin sent troops into two pro-Russian separatist regions of Ukraine.

The deployment could mark Russia’s opening salvo in what Western officials and analysts have warned are Russian plans to launch a major incursion into Ukraine. It came after Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognized the two separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine on Monday.

In a freewheeling speech Monday that offered his own — often incorrect — version of history, Putin reiterated many of the arguments Russia has made in recent months to justify its position on Ukraine and, potentially, a full-scale invasion.

Here are six ways Putin views Ukraine. All are barriers to a peaceful resolution.

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