Why did the conflict intensify during 2021? HP provides some possible explanations in terms of Russia’s positioning in the world economy, the build-up of Ukrainian military capabilities, and attempts to exert pressure on Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine. While TF dismisses these explanations, we agree that the decision-makers in Moscow were frustrated by the lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk II agreement. This evokes a counterfactual according to which the implementation of Minsk II could have prevented the war. However, TF calls the idea of a neutral and “Finlandised” Ukraine flourishing between the EU and Russia a “realist delusion”. HP does not agree that Minsk II would have meant subjugation to the control of Moscow and criticises TF for ignoring the importance of the question of NATO expansion. We debate possible neo-imperial motives and their origins; dangers of circular reasoning; lack of good faith in negotiations; and lack of willingness to negotiate. Amid divergent interpretations, we agree that there was something irrational about the way Russian decision-makers disregarded high risks. In this chapter, new theory-issues include the certainty-of-hindsight bias, evaluative language, and the tasks of scholarship in the context of a violent conflict or war.