One very important point you haven't mentioned... There are people in the Donbass region who are fighting alongside the Russian army, against the Ukrainian government forces.
From their point of view, the war did not start in February 2022. Their region has been under attack (and partially occupied) for the past eight years.
I know Ukraine and its allies say that the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk are not really countries. I've heard similar arguments from supporters of Israel regarding Palestine.