Russia's declared critical issue for its invasion of Ukraine is NATO membership.
One week before Russia's invasion of Ukraine the US administration declined to put Ukraine's membership in NATO on the negotiating table. Evidently, Ukraine also declined to take such a step.
At this stage of destruction inside the country, especially with their hands tied and unable to strike inside Russia, one question lingers.
What made NATO membership so compelling for Ukraine? Do we have any signs, for example, that Russia would have anyway invaded at a later date had Ukraine vowed never to seek NATO membership?
Would at least saying "maybe we won't seek membership" rather than "we will never seek membership" have forestalled a Russian invasion?
Note: A related point of view is that of John Mearsheimer, who voiced: "by refusing to negotiate with Russia about Ukraine, the US effectively is throwing Ukraine under the Russian steamroller." Mearsheimer uses an analogy with the Cuban missile crisis. Just as the US then categorically refused to allow the Soviets to position missiles so close to the US mainland (yet still far from the US capital), the Russians have been insensed at the prospect of having NATO set up a front line so close to Moscow.