The claim that the naked aggression of the Putin regime against Ukraine is simply reactive and defensive – nothing more than a proxy war – persists among some on the left. That Putin might have his own imperialist, aggrandizing, empire building ambitions, that Ukraine has a right to independence and peaceful development never enters their calculus, trapped as they in old frames of understanding. Nor do they even hint that Russian withdrawal from Ukraine is at the core of any meaningful negotiations and settlement.