Agree re 'empty moralizing'. I mean... it is what it is... the play of imperialisms contending.
After all - what are statements to mean - like: "NATO lost it's excuse for expansion years ago" ?
I mean to say by that, that imperialism is impelled forward by its' own logic. It needs (nor as far as I know) asks for any excuses.
The *same* applies to Putin, and - yes he has done it before - as seen by his orchestration and false-flagism in Chechnya which marked his rise to power. He follows the same logic of power and money, that do those who bid NATO's positions.