Article by Vladimir Putin ”On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians“ (2022)

During therecent Direct Line, when Iwas asked aboutRussian-Ukrainian relations, Isaid that Russians andUkrainians were onepeople– asingle whole. These words were not driven bysome short-termconsiderations orprompted bythecurrent political context. It is what Ihavesaid onnumerous occasions andwhat Ifirmly believe. Itherefore feel itnecessary toexplain myposition indetail andshare myassessments oftoday'ssituation.

First ofall, Iwould like toemphasize that thewall that has emerged inrecent years between Russia andUkraine, between theparts ofwhat isessentially thesame historical andspiritual space, tomymind is our great commonmisfortune andtragedy. These are, first andforemost, theconsequences ofourown mistakes made atdifferent periods oftime. But these are also theresultofdeliberate efforts bythose forces that have always sought toundermine ourunity. Theformula they apply has been known from time immemorial– divide andrule. There is nothing new here. Hence theattempts toplay onthe”national question“ andsow discord among people, theoverarchinggoal being todivide andthen topit theparts ofasingle people against oneanother.

Tohave abetter understanding ofthepresent andlook into thefuture, weneed toturn tohistory. Certainly, it is impossible tocover inthis articleall thedevelopments that have taken place over more than athousand years. ButIwill focus onthekey, pivotal moments that are important forus toremember,both inRussia andUkraine.

Russians, Ukrainians, andBelarusians are all descendants ofAncient Rus,which was thelargest state inEurope. Slavic andother tribes across thevastterritory– from Ladoga, Novgorod, andPskov toKiev andChernigov–were bound together byone language (which we now refer toasOld Russian),economic ties, therule oftheprinces oftheRurik dynasty, and– afterthebaptism ofRus– theOrthodox faith. Thespiritual choice made bySt.Vladimir, who was both Prince ofNovgorod andGrand Prince ofKiev, stilllargely determines our affinity today.

Thethrone ofKiev held adominant position inAncient Rus. This had beenthecustom since thelate 9th century. TheTale ofBygone Years captured forposterity thewords ofOleg theProphet about Kiev, ”Let it be themotherofall Russian cities.“

Later, like other European states ofthat time, Ancient Rus faced adeclineofcentral rule andfragmentation. Atthesame time, both thenobility andthecommon people perceived Rus asacommon territory, astheir homeland.

Thefragmentation intensified after Batu Khan's devastating invasion, whichravaged many cities, including Kiev. Thenortheastern part ofRus fell underthecontrol oftheGolden Horde but retained limited sovereignty. Thesouthernandwestern Russian lands largely became part oftheGrand Duchy ofLithuania,which– most significantly– was referred toinhistorical records astheGrandDuchy ofLithuania andRussia.

Members oftheprincely and”boyar“ clans would change servicefrom one prince toanother, feuding with each other but also making friendshipsandalliances. Voivode Bobrok ofVolyn andthesons ofGrand Duke ofLithuania Algirdas–Andrey ofPolotsk andDmitry ofBryansk– fought next toGrand Duke DmitryIvanovich ofMoscow ontheKulikovo field. Atthesame time, Grand Duke ofLithuania Jogaila–son ofthePrincess ofTver– led his troops tojoin with Mamai. These are allpages ofour shared history, reflecting its complex andmulti-dimensionalnature.

Most importantly, people both inthewestern andeastern Russian landsspoke thesame language. Their faith was Orthodox. Up tothemiddle ofthe15thcentury,theunified church government remained inplace.

Atanew stage ofhistorical development, both Lithuanian Rus andMoscowRus could have become thepoints ofattraction andconsolidation oftheterritories ofAncient Rus. It so happened that Moscow became thecenter ofreunification, continuing thetradition ofancient Russian statehood. Moscowprinces– thedescendants ofPrince Alexander Nevsky– cast off theforeignyoke andbegan gathering theRussian lands.

IntheGrand Duchy ofLithuania, other processes were unfolding. Inthe14thcentury, Lithuania's ruling elite converted toCatholicism. Inthe16thcentury, it signed theUnion ofLublin with theKingdom ofPoland toform thePolish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. ThePolish Catholic nobility received considerableland holdings andprivileges intheterritory ofRus. Inaccordance with the1596 Union ofBrest, part ofthewestern Russian Orthodox clergy submitted totheauthority ofthePope. Theprocess ofPolonization andLatinization began,ousting Orthodoxy.

Asaconsequence, inthe16–17th centuries, theliberation movement oftheOrthodox population was gaining strength intheDnieper region. Theeventsduring thetimes ofHetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky became aturning point. Hissupporters struggled forautonomy from thePolish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Inits 1649 appeal totheking ofthePolish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, theZaporizhian Host demanded that therights oftheRussian Orthodox population berespected, that thevoivode ofKiev be Russian andofGreek faith, andthat thepersecution ofthechurches ofGod be stopped. But theCossacks were not heard.

Bohdan Khmelnytsky then made appeals toMoscow, which were considered bytheZemsky Sobor. On1October 1653, members ofthesupreme representativebody oftheRussian state decided tosupport their brothers infaith andtakethem under patronage. InJanuary 1654, thePereyaslav Council confirmed thatdecision. Subsequently, theambassadors ofBohdan Khmelnytsky andMoscowvisited dozens ofcities, including Kiev, whose populations swore allegiance totheRussian tsar. Incidentally, nothing ofthekind happened attheconclusionoftheUnion ofLublin.

Inaletter toMoscow in1654, Bohdan Khmelnytsky thanked Tsar AlekseyMikhaylovich fortaking ”thewhole Zaporizhian Host andthewhole RussianOrthodox world under thestrong andhigh hand oftheTsar“. It means that,intheir appeals toboth thePolish king andtheRussian tsar, theCossacksreferred toanddefined themselves asRussian Orthodox people.

Over thecourse oftheprotracted war between theRussian state andthePolish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, some ofthehetmans, successors ofBohdanKhmelnytsky, would ”detach themselves“ from Moscow orseek supportfrom Sweden, Poland, orTurkey. But, again, forthepeople, that was awar ofliberation. It ended with theTruce ofAndrusovo in1667. Thefinal outcome wassealed bytheTreaty ofPerpetual Peace in1686. TheRussian state incorporated thecity ofKiev andthelands ontheleft bank oftheDnieper River, including Poltava region,Chernigov region, andZaporozhye. Their inhabitants were reunited with themainpart oftheRussian Orthodox people. These territories were referred toas”Malorossia“ (Little Russia).

Thename ”Ukraine“ was used more often inthemeaning oftheOldRussian word ”okraina“ (periphery), which is found inwritten sourcesfrom the12thcentury, referring tovarious border territories. Andtheword ”Ukrainian“, judging byarchival documents, originally referredtofrontier guards who protected theexternal borders.

Ontheright bank, which remained under thePolish–Lithuanian Commonwealth,theold orders were restored, andsocial andreligious oppression intensified.Onthecontrary, thelands ontheleft bank, taken under theprotection oftheunified state, saw rapid development. People from theother bank oftheDniepermoved here en masse. They sought support from people who spoke thesamelanguage andhad thesame faith.

During theGreat Northern War with Sweden, thepeople inMalorossia werenot faced with achoice ofwhom toside with. Only asmall portion oftheCossacks supported Mazepa's rebellion. People ofall orders anddegreesconsidered themselves Russian andOrthodox.

Cossack senior officers belonging tothenobility would reach theheightsofpolitical, diplomatic, andmilitary careers inRussia. Graduates ofKiev-Mohyla Academy played aleading role inchurch life. This was also thecase during theHetmanate– anessentially autonomous state formation with aspecial internal structure– andlater intheRussian Empire. Malorussians inmany ways helped build abig common country– its statehood, culture, andscience. They participated intheexploration anddevelopment oftheUrals,Siberia, theCaucasus, andtheFar East. Incidentally, during theSovietperiod, natives ofUkraine held major, including thehighest, posts intheleadership oftheunified state. Suffice it tosay that Nikita Khrushchev andLeonid Brezhnev, whose party biography was most closely associated withUkraine, led theCommunist Party oftheSoviet Union (CPSU) foralmost 30years.

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Inthesecond half ofthe18thcentury, following thewars with theOttoman Empire, Russia incorporated Crimea andthelands oftheBlack Searegion, which became known asNovorossiya. They were populated bypeople fromall oftheRussian provinces. After thepartitions ofthePolish-LithuanianCommonwealth, theRussian Empire regained thewestern Old Russian lands, withtheexception ofGalicia andTranscarpathia, which became part oftheAustrian– andlater Austro-Hungarian– Empire.

Theincorporation ofthewestern Russian lands into thesingle state wasnot merely theresult ofpolitical anddiplomatic decisions. It was underlainbythecommon faith, shared cultural traditions, and– Iwould like toemphasize it once again– language similarity. Thus, asearly asthebeginningofthe17thcentury, one ofthehierarchs oftheUniate Church, JosephRutsky, communicated toRome that people inMoscovia called Russians from thePolish-Lithuanian Commonwealth their brothers, that their written language wasabsolutely identical, anddifferences inthevernacular were insignificant. Hedrew ananalogy with theresidents ofRome andBergamo. These are, aswe know,thecenter andthenorth ofmodern Italy.

Many centuries offragmentation andliving within different statesnaturally brought about regional language peculiarities, resulting intheemergence ofdialects. Thevernacular enriched theliterary language. IvanKotlyarevsky, Grigory Skovoroda, andTaras Shevchenko played ahuge role here.Their works are our common literary andcultural heritage. Taras Shevchenkowrote poetry intheUkrainian language, andprose mainly inRussian. ThebooksofNikolay Gogol, aRussian patriot andnative ofPoltavshchyna, are written inRussian, bristling with Malorussian folk sayings andmotifs. How can thisheritage be divided between Russia andUkraine? Andwhy do it?

Thesouth-western lands oftheRussian Empire, Malorussia andNovorossiya,andtheCrimea developed asethnically andreligiously diverse entities.Crimean Tatars, Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Karaites, Krymchaks, Bulgarians,Poles, Serbs, Germans, andother peoples lived here. They all preserved theirfaith, traditions, andcustoms.

Iam not going toidealise anything. We do know there were theValuevCircular of1863 anthen theEms Ukaz of1876, which restricted thepublicationandimportation ofreligious andsocio-political literature intheUkrainianlanguage. But it is important tobe mindful ofthehistorical context. Thesedecisions were taken against thebackdrop ofdramatic events inPoland andthedesire oftheleaders ofthePolish national movement toexploit the”Ukrainian issue“ totheir own advantage. Ishould add that works offiction, books ofUkrainian poetry andfolk songs continued tobe published.There is objective evidence that theRussian Empire was witnessing anactiveprocess ofdevelopment oftheMalorussian cultural identity within thegreaterRussian nation, which united theVelikorussians, theMalorussians andtheBelorussians.

Atthesame time, theidea ofUkrainian people asanation separate fromtheRussians started toform andgain ground among thePolish elite andapartoftheMalorussian intelligentsia. Since there was no historical basis– andcould not have been any, conclusions were substantiated byall sorts ofconcoctions, which went asfar astoclaim that theUkrainians are thetrueSlavs andtheRussians, theMuscovites, are not. Such ”hypotheses“became increasingly used forpolitical purposes asatool ofrivalry betweenEuropean states.

Since thelate 19th century, theAustro-Hungarian authorities had latchedonto this narrative, using it asacounterbalance tothePolish national movementandpro-Muscovite sentiments inGalicia. During World War I, Vienna played arole intheformation oftheso-called Legion ofUkrainian Sich Riflemen.Galicians suspected ofsympathies with Orthodox Christianity andRussia weresubjected tobrutal repression andthrown into theconcentration camps ofThalerhof andTerezin.

Further developments had todo with thecollapse ofEuropean empires, thefierce civil war that broke out across thevast territory oftheformer RussianEmpire, andforeign intervention.

After theFebruary Revolution, inMarch 1917, theCentral Rada wasestablished inKiev, intended tobecome theorgan ofsupreme power. InNovember1917, inits Third Universal, it declared thecreation oftheUkrainianPeople's Republic (UPR) aspart ofRussia.

InDecember 1917, UPR representatives arrived inBrest-Litovsk, whereSoviet Russia was negotiating with Germany andits allies. Atameeting on10January 1918, thehead oftheUkrainian delegation read out anote proclaimingtheindependence ofUkraine. Subsequently, theCentral Rada proclaimed Ukraineindependent inits Fourth Universal.

Thedeclared sovereignty did not last long. Just afew weeks later, Radadelegates signed aseparate treaty with theGerman bloc countries. Germany andAustria-Hungary were atthetime inadire situation andneeded Ukrainian breadandraw materials. Inorder tosecure large-scale supplies, they obtainedconsent forsending their troops andtechnical staff totheUPR. Infact, thiswas used asapretext foroccupation.

Forthose who have today given up thefull control ofUkraine toexternalforces, it would be instructive toremember that, back in1918, such adecisionproved fatal fortheruling regime inKiev. With thedirect involvement oftheoccupying forces, theCentral Rada was overthrown andHetman Pavlo Skoropadskyiwas brought topower, proclaiming instead oftheUPR theUkrainian State, whichwas essentially under German protectorate.

InNovember 1918– following therevolutionary events inGermany andAustria-Hungary– Pavlo Skoropadskyi, who had lost thesupport ofGermanbayonets, took adifferent course, declaring that ”Ukraine is totake thelead intheformation ofanAll-Russian Federation“. However, theregimewas soon changed again. It was now thetime oftheso-called Directorate.

Inautumn 1918, Ukrainian nationalists proclaimed theWest UkrainianPeople's Republic (WUPR) and, inJanuary 1919, announced its unification withtheUkrainian People's Republic. InJuly 1919, Ukrainian forces were crushed byPolish troops, andtheterritory oftheformer WUPR came under thePolish rule.

InApril 1920, Symon Petliura (portrayed asone ofthe”heroes“intoday's Ukraine) concluded secret conventions onbehalf oftheUPRDirectorate, giving up– inexchange formilitary support– Galicia andWestern Volhynia lands toPoland. InMay 1920, Petliurites entered Kiev inaconvoy ofPolish military units. But not forlong. Asearly asNovember 1920,following atruce between Poland andSoviet Russia, theremnants ofPetliura'sforces surrendered tothose same Poles.

Theexample oftheUPR shows that different kinds ofquasi-state formationsthat emerged across theformer Russian Empire atthetime oftheCivil War andturbulence were inherently unstable. Nationalists sought tocreate their ownindependent states, while leaders oftheWhite movement advocated indivisibleRussia. Many oftherepublics established bytheBolsheviks' supporters did notsee themselves outside Russia either. Nevertheless, Bolshevik Party leaderssometimes basically drove them out ofSoviet Russia forvarious reasons.

Thus, inearly 1918, theDonetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic was proclaimedandasked Moscow toincorporate it into Soviet Russia. This was met with arefusal. During ameeting with therepublic's leaders, Vladimir Lenin insistedthat they act aspart ofSoviet Ukraine. On15March 1918, theCentralCommittee oftheRussian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) directly ordered thatdelegates be sent totheUkrainian Congress ofSoviets, including from theDonetsk Basin, andthat ”one government forall ofUkraine“ becreated atthecongress. Theterritories oftheDonetsk-Krivoy Rog SovietRepublic later formed most oftheregions ofsouth-eastern Ukraine.

Under the1921 Treaty ofRiga, concluded between theRussian SFSR, theUkrainian SSR andPoland, thewestern lands oftheformer Russian Empire wereceded toPoland. Intheinterwar period, thePolish government pursued anactive resettlement policy, seeking tochange theethnic composition oftheEastern Borderlands– thePolish name forwhat is now Western Ukraine, WesternBelarus andparts ofLithuania. Theareas were subjected toharsh Polonisation,local culture andtraditions suppressed. Later, during World WarII,radical groups ofUkrainian nationalists used this asapretext forterror notonly against Polish, but also against Jewish andRussian populations.

In1922, when theUSSR was created, with theUkrainian Soviet SocialistRepublic becoming one ofits founders, arather fierce debate among theBolshevik leaders resulted intheimplementation ofLenin's plan toform aunion state asafederation ofequal republics. Theright fortherepublics tofreely secede from theUnion was included inthetext oftheDeclaration ontheCreation oftheUnion ofSoviet Socialist Republics and, subsequently, inthe1924 USSR Constitution. Bydoing so, theauthors planted inthefoundation ofour statehood themost dangerous time bomb, which exploded themoment thesafety mechanism provided bytheleading role oftheCPSU was gone, thepartyitself collapsing from within. A”parade ofsovereignties“ followed.On8 December 1991, theso-called Belovezh Agreement ontheCreation oftheCommonwealth ofIndependent States was signed, stating that ”theUSSR asasubject ofinternational law andageopolitical reality no longerexisted.“ Bytheway, Ukraine never signed orratified theCIS Charteradopted back in1993.

Inthe1920's-1930's, theBolsheviks actively promoted the”localization policy“, which took theform ofUkrainization intheUkrainian SSR. Symbolically, aspart ofthis policy andwith consent oftheSoviet authorities, Mikhail Grushevskiy, former chairman ofCentral Rada, oneoftheideologists ofUkrainian nationalism, who atacertain period oftimehad been supported byAustria-Hungary, was returned totheUSSR andwas electedmember oftheAcademy ofSciences.

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Thelocalization policy undoubtedly played amajor role inthedevelopmentandconsolidation oftheUkrainian culture, language andidentity. Atthesametime, under theguise ofcombating theso-called Russian great-powerchauvinism, Ukrainization was often imposed onthose who did not see themselvesasUkrainians. This Soviet national policy secured atthestate level theprovision onthree separate Slavic peoples: Russian, Ukrainian andBelorussian,instead ofthelarge Russian nation, atriune people comprising Velikorussians,Malorussians andBelorussians.

In1939, theUSSR regained thelands earlier seized byPoland. Amajorportion ofthese became part oftheSoviet Ukraine. In1940, theUkrainian SSRincorporated part ofBessarabia, which had been occupied byRomania since 1918,aswell asNorthern Bukovina. In1948, Zmeyiniy Island (Snake Island) intheBlack Sea became part ofUkraine. In1954, theCrimean Region oftheRSFSR wasgiven totheUkrainian SSR, ingross violation oflegal norms that were inforce atthetime.

Iwould like todwell onthedestiny ofCarpathian Ruthenia, which becamepart ofCzechoslovakia following thebreakup ofAustria-Hungary. Rusins made upaconsiderable share oflocal population. While this is hardly mentioned anylonger, after theliberation ofTranscarpathia bySoviet troops thecongress oftheOrthodox population oftheregion voted fortheinclusion ofCarpathianRuthenia intheRSFSR or, asaseparate Carpathian republic, intheUSSRproper. Yet thechoice ofpeople was ignored. Insummer 1945, thehistoricalact ofthereunification ofCarpathian Ukraine ”with its ancientmotherland, Ukraine“– asThePravda newspaper put it– was announced.

Therefore, modern Ukraine is entirely theproduct oftheSoviet era. Weknow andremember well that it was shaped– forasignificant part– onthelands ofhistorical Russia. Tomake sure ofthat, it is enough tolook attheboundaries ofthelands reunited with theRussian state inthe17th century andtheterritory oftheUkrainian SSR when it left theSoviet Union.

TheBolsheviks treated theRussian people asinexhaustible material fortheir social experiments. They dreamt ofaworld revolution that would wipe outnational states. That is why they were so generous indrawing borders andbestowing territorial gifts. It is no longer important what exactly theidea oftheBolshevik leaders who were chopping thecountry into pieces was. We candisagree about minor details, background andlogics behind certain decisions.One fact is crystal clear: Russia was robbed, indeed.

When working onthis article, Irelied onopen-source documents thatcontain well-known facts rather than onsome secret records. Theleaders ofmodern Ukraine andtheir external ”patrons“ prefer tooverlook thesefacts. They do not miss achance, however, both inside thecountry andabroad,tocondemn ”thecrimes oftheSoviet regime,“ listing among themevents with which neither theCPSU, nor theUSSR, let alone modern Russia, haveanything todo. Atthesame time, theBolsheviks' efforts todetach from Russiaits historical territories are not considered acrime. Andwe know why: if theybrought about theweakening ofRussia, our ill-wishes are happy with that.

Ofcourse, inside theUSSR, borders between republics were never seen asstate borders; they were nominal within asingle country, which, whilefeaturing all theattributes ofafederation, was highly centralized– this,again, was secured bytheCPSU's leading role. But in1991, all thoseterritories, and, which is more important, people, found themselves abroadovernight, taken away, this time indeed, from their historical motherland.

What can be said tothis? Things change: countries andcommunities are noexception. Ofcourse, some part ofapeople intheprocess ofits development,influenced byanumber ofreasons andhistorical circumstances, can becomeaware ofitself asaseparate nation atacertain moment. How should we treatthat? There is only one answer: with respect!

You want toestablish astate ofyour own: you are welcome! But what are theterms? Iwill recall theassessment given byone ofthemost prominentpolitical figures ofnew Russia, first mayor ofSaint Petersburg AnatolySobchak. Asalegal expert who believed that every decision must be legitimate,in1992, he shared thefollowing opinion: therepublics that were founders oftheUnion, having denounced the1922 Union Treaty, must return totheboundaries they had had before joining theSoviet Union. All other territorialacquisitions are subject todiscussion, negotiations, given that theground hasbeen revoked.

Inother words, when you leave, take what you brought with you. This logicis hard torefute. Iwill just say that theBolsheviks had embarked onreshaping boundaries even before theSoviet Union, manipulating with territoriestotheir liking, indisregard ofpeople's views.

TheRussian Federation recognized thenew geopolitical realities: andnotonly recognized, but, indeed, did alot forUkraine toestablish itself asanindependent country. Throughout thedifficult 1990's andinthenew millennium,we have provided considerable support toUkraine. Whatever ”politicalarithmetic“ ofits own Kiev may wish toapply, in1991–2013, Ukraine'sbudget savings amounted tomore than USD82 billion, while today, it holdsontothemere USD1.5billion ofRussian payments forgas transit toEurope. If economic ties between our countries had been retained, Ukraine wouldenjoy thebenefit oftens ofbillions ofdollars.

Ukraine andRussia have developed asasingle economic system over decadesandcenturies. Theprofound cooperation we had 30 years ago is anexample fortheEuropean Union tolook up to. We are natural complementary economicpartners. Such aclose relationship can strengthen competitive advantages,increasing thepotential ofboth countries.

Ukraine used topossess great potential, which included powerfulinfrastructure, gas transportation system, advanced shipbuilding, aviation,rocket andinstrument engineering industries, aswell asworld-classscientific, design andengineering schools. Taking over this legacy anddeclaring independence, Ukrainian leaders promised that theUkrainian economywould be one oftheleading ones andthestandard ofliving would be among thebest inEurope.

Today, high-tech industrial giants that were once thepride ofUkraine andtheentire Union, are sinking. Engineering output has dropped by42 per centover ten years. Thescale ofdeindustrialization andoverall economicdegradation is visible inUkraine's electricity production, which has seen anearly two-time decrease in30 years. Finally, according toIMF reports, in2019, before thecoronavirus pandemic broke out, Ukraine's GDP per capita hadbeen below USD4thousand. This is less than intheRepublic ofAlbania, theRepublic ofMoldova, orunrecognized Kosovo. Nowadays, Ukraine isEurope's poorest country.

Who is toblame forthis? Is it thepeople ofUkraine's fault? Certainly not. It was theUkrainian authorities who waistedandfrittered away theachievements ofmany generations. We know howhardworking andtalented thepeople ofUkraine are. They can achieve successandoutstanding results with perseverance anddetermination. Andthesequalities, aswell astheir openness, innate optimism andhospitality have notgone. Thefeelings ofmillions ofpeople who treat Russia not just well butwith great affection, just aswe feel about Ukraine, remain thesame.

Until 2014, hundreds ofagreements andjoint projectswere aimed atdeveloping our economies, business andcultural ties,strengthening security, andsolving common social andenvironmental problems.They brought tangible benefits topeople– both inRussia andUkraine. This iswhat we believed tobe most important. Andthat is why we had afruitfulinteraction with all, Iemphasize, with all theleaders ofUkraine.

Even after theevents inKiev of2014, Icharged theRussian government toelaborate options forpreserving andmaintaining oureconomic ties within relevant ministries andagencies. However, there was andisstill no mutual will todo thesame. Nevertheless, Russia is still one ofUkraine's top three trading partners, andhundreds ofthousands ofUkrainiansare coming tous towork, andthey find awelcome reception andsupport. Sothat what the”aggressor state“ is.

When theUSSR collapsed, many people inRussia andUkraine sincerely believed andassumed that our close cultural, spiritual andeconomic ties would certainly last, aswould thecommonality ofour people, whohad always had asense ofunity attheir core. However, events– atfirstgradually, andthen more rapidly– started tomove inadifferent direction.

Inessence, Ukraine's ruling circles decided tojustify their country's independence through thedenial ofits past, however,except forborder issues. They began tomythologize andrewrite history, editout everything that united us, andrefer totheperiod when Ukraine was part oftheRussian Empire andtheSoviet Union asanoccupation. Thecommon tragedy ofcollectivization andfamine oftheearly 1930s was portrayed asthegenocide oftheUkrainian people.

Radicals andneo-Nazis were open andmore andmoreinsolent about their ambitions. They were indulged byboth theofficialauthorities andlocal oligarchs, who robbed thepeople ofUkraine andkepttheir stolen money inWestern banks, ready tosell their motherland forthesake ofpreserving their capital. Tothis should be added thepersistentweakness ofstate institutions andtheposition ofawilling hostage tosomeoneelse's geopolitical will.

(Video) Putin on the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians

Irecall that long ago, well before 2014, theU.S. andEU countries systematically andconsistently pushed Ukraine tocurtail andlimit economic cooperation with Russia. We, asthelargest trade andeconomicpartner ofUkraine, suggested discussing theemerging problems intheUkraine-Russia-EU format. But every time we were told that Russia had nothingtodo with it andthat theissue concerned only theEU andUkraine. De factoWestern countries rejected Russia's repeated calls fordialogue.

Step bystep, Ukraine was dragged into adangerousgeopolitical game aimed atturning Ukraine into abarrier between Europe andRussia, aspringboard against Russia. Inevitably, there came atime when theconcept of”Ukraine is not Russia“ was no longer anoption. There wasaneed forthe”anti-Russia“ concept which we will never accept.

Theowners ofthis project took asabasis theoldgroundwork ofthePolish-Austrian ideologists tocreate an”anti-MoscowRussia“. Andthere is no need todeceive anyone that this is being done intheinterests ofthepeople ofUkraine. ThePolish-Lithuanian Commonwealthnever needed Ukrainian culture, much less Cossack autonomy. InAustria-Hungary,historical Russian lands were mercilessly exploited andremained thepoorest.TheNazis, abetted bycollaborators from theOUN-UPA, did not need Ukraine, butaliving space andslaves forAryan overlords.

Nor were theinterests oftheUkrainian people thoughtofinFebruary 2014. Thelegitimate public discontent, caused byacutesocio-economic problems, mistakes, andinconsistent actions oftheauthoritiesofthetime, was simply cynically exploited. Western countries directlyinterfered inUkraine's internal affairs andsupported thecoup. Radicalnationalist groups served asits battering ram. Their slogans, ideology, andblatant aggressive Russophobia have toalarge extent become defining elementsofstate policy inUkraine.

All thethings that united us andbring us together sofar came under attack. First andforemost, theRussian language. Let me remindyou that thenew ”Maidan“ authorities first tried torepeal thelawonstate language policy. Then there was thelaw onthe”purification ofpower“, thelaw oneducation that virtually cut theRussian language outoftheeducational process.

Lastly, asearly asMay ofthis year, thecurrentpresident introduced abill on”indigenous peoples“ totheRada. Onlythose who constitute anethnic minority anddo not have their own state entityoutside Ukraine are recognized asindigenous. Thelaw has been passed. Newseeds ofdiscord have been sown. Andthis is happening inacountry, asIhavealready noted, that is very complex interms ofits territorial, national andlinguistic composition, andits history offormation.

There may be anargument: if you are talking about asingle large nation, atriune nation, then what difference does it make whopeople consider themselves tobe– Russians, Ukrainians, orBelarusians. Icompletely agree with this. Especially since thedetermination ofnationality,particularly inmixed families, is theright ofevery individual, free tomakehis orher own choice.

But thefact is that thesituation inUkraine today iscompletely different because it involves aforced change ofidentity. Andthemost despicable thing is that theRussians inUkraine are being forced not onlytodeny their roots, generations oftheir ancestors but also tobelieve thatRussia is their enemy. It would not be anexaggeration tosay that thepath offorced assimilation, theformation ofanethnically pure Ukrainian state,aggressive towards Russia, is comparable inits consequences totheuse ofweapons ofmass destruction against us. Asaresult ofsuch aharsh andartificial division ofRussians andUkrainians, theRussian people inall maydecrease byhundreds ofthousands oreven millions.

Our spiritual unity has also been attacked. Asinthedays oftheGrand Duchy ofLithuania, anew ecclesiastical has been initiated.Thesecular authorities, making no secret oftheir political aims, have blatantlyinterfered inchurch life andbrought things toasplit, totheseizure ofchurches, thebeating ofpriests andmonks. Even extensive autonomy oftheUkrainian Orthodox Church while maintaining spiritual unity with theMoscowPatriarchate strongly displeases them. They have todestroy this prominent andcenturies-old symbol ofour kinship atall costs.

Ithink it is also natural that therepresentatives ofUkraine over andover again vote against theUN General Assembly resolutioncondemning theglorification ofNazism. Marches andtorchlit processions inhonor ofremaining war criminals from theSS units take place under theprotection oftheofficial authorities. Mazepa, who betrayed everyone,Petliura, who paid forPolish patronage with Ukrainian lands, andBandera, whocollaborated with theNazis, are ranked asnational heroes. Everything is beingdone toerase from thememory ofyoung generations thenames ofgenuine patriotsandvictors, who have always been thepride ofUkraine.

FortheUkrainians who fought intheRed Army, inpartisan units, theGreat PatrioticWar was indeed apatriotic war because they were defending their home, theirgreat common Motherland. Over two thousand soldiers became Heroes oftheSovietUnion. Among them are legendary pilot Ivan Kozhedub, fearless sniper, defenderofOdessa andSevastopol Lyudmila Pavlichenko, valiant guerrilla commander SidorKovpak. This indomitable generation fought, those people gave their lives forour future, forus. Toforget their feat is tobetray our grandfathers, mothersandfathers.

Theanti-Russia project has been rejected bymillions ofUkrainians. Thepeople ofCrimea andresidents ofSevastopol made their historic choice. Andpeople inthesoutheast peacefully tried todefend their stance. Yet, all ofthem,including children, were labeled asseparatists andterrorists. They werethreatened with ethnic cleansing andtheuse ofmilitary force. Andtheresidents ofDonetsk andLugansk took up arms todefend their home, theirlanguage andtheir lives. Were they left any other choice after theriots thatswept through thecities ofUkraine, after thehorror andtragedy of2 May 2014inOdessa where Ukrainian neo-Nazis burned people alive making anew Khatyn outofit? Thesame massacre was ready tobe carried out bythefollowers ofBandera inCrimea, Sevastopol, Donetsk andLugansk. Even now they do notabandon such plans. They are biding their time. But their time will not come.

Thecoup d'état andthesubsequent actions oftheKiev authorities inevitablyprovoked confrontation andcivil war. TheUN High Commissioner forHuman Rightsestimates that thetotal number ofvictims intheconflict inDonbas hasexceeded 13,000. Among them are theelderly andchildren. These are terrible,irreparable losses.

Russiahas done everything tostop fratricide. TheMinsk agreements aimed atapeaceful settlement oftheconflict inDonbas have been concluded. Iamconvinced that they still have no alternative. Inany case, no one haswithdrawn their signatures from theMinsk Package ofMeasures orfrom therelevant statements bytheleaders oftheNormandy format countries. No one hasinitiated areview oftheUnited Nations Security Council resolution of17February 2015.

Duringofficial negotiations, especially after being reined inbyWestern partners,Ukraine's representatives regularly declare their ”full adherence“ totheMinsk agreements, but are infact guided byaposition of”unacceptability“. They do not intend toseriously discuss either thespecial status ofDonbas orsafeguards forthepeople living there. They prefertoexploit theimage ofthe”victim ofexternal aggression“ andpeddle Russophobia. They arrange bloody provocations inDonbas. Inshort, theyattract theattention ofexternal patrons andmasters byall means.

Apparently,andIam becoming more andmore convinced ofthis: Kiev simply does not needDonbas. Why? Because, firstly, theinhabitants ofthese regions will neveraccept theorder that they have tried andare trying toimpose byforce,blockade andthreats. Andsecondly, theoutcome ofboth Minsk‑1 andMinsk‑2which give areal chance topeacefully restore theterritorial integrity ofUkraine bycoming toanagreement directly with theDPR andLPR with Russia,Germany andFrance asmediators, contradicts theentire logic oftheanti-Russia project. Andit can only be sustained bytheconstant cultivationoftheimage ofaninternal andexternal enemy. AndIwould add– undertheprotection andcontrol oftheWestern powers.

This iswhat is actually happening. First ofall, we are facing thecreation ofaclimate offear inUkrainian society, aggressive rhetoric, indulging neo-Nazisandmilitarising thecountry. Along with that we are witnessing not justcomplete dependence but direct external control, including thesupervision oftheUkrainian authorities, security services andarmed forces byforeignadvisers, military ”development“ oftheterritory ofUkraine anddeployment ofNATO infrastructure. It is no coincidence that theaforementionedflagrant law on”indigenous peoples“ was adopted under thecover oflarge-scale NATO exercises inUkraine.

This isalso adisguise forthetakeover oftherest oftheUkrainian economy andtheexploitation ofits natural resources. Thesale ofagricultural land is not faroff, andit is obvious who will buy it up. From time totime, Ukraine is indeedgiven financial resources andloans, but under their own conditions andpursuing their own interests, with preferences andbenefits forWesterncompanies. Bytheway, who will pay these debts back? Apparently, it is assumedthat this will have tobe done not only bytoday's generation ofUkrainians butalso bytheir children, grandchildren andprobably great-grandchildren.

TheWestern authors oftheanti-Russia project set up theUkrainian politicalsystem insuch away that presidents, members ofparliament andministers wouldchange but theattitude ofseparation from andenmity with Russia would remain.Reaching peace was themain election slogan oftheincumbent president. He cametopower with this. Thepromises turned out tobe lies. Nothing has changed.Andinsome ways thesituation inUkraine andaround Donbas has evendegenerated.

Intheanti-Russia project, there is no place either forasovereign Ukraine orforthepolitical forces that are trying todefend its real independence. Those whotalk about reconciliation inUkrainian society, about dialogue, about finding away out ofthecurrent impasse are labelled as”pro-Russian“ agents.

(Video) Putin & History

Again,formany people inUkraine, theanti-Russia project is simply unacceptable. Andthere are millions ofsuch people. But they are not allowed toraise theirheads. They have had their legal opportunity todefend their point ofview infact taken away from them. They are intimidated, driven underground. Not onlyare they persecuted fortheir convictions, forthespoken word, fortheopenexpression oftheir position, but they are also killed. Murderers, asarule,go unpunished.

Today,the”right“ patriot ofUkraine is only theone who hates Russia.Moreover, theentire Ukrainian statehood, aswe understand it, is proposed tobe further built exclusively onthis idea. Hate andanger, asworld history hasrepeatedly proved this, are avery shaky foundation forsovereignty, fraughtwith many serious risks anddire consequences.

All thesubterfuges associated with theanti-Russia project are clear tous. Andwewill never allow our historical territories andpeople close tous living theretobe used against Russia. Andtothose who will undertake such anattempt, Iwould like tosay that this way they will destroy their own country.

Theincumbent authorities inUkraine like torefer toWestern experience, seeing itasamodel tofollow. Just have alook athow Austria andGermany, theUSA andCanada live next toeach other. Close inethnic composition, culture, infactsharing one language, they remain sovereign states with their own interests,with their own foreign policy. But this does not prevent them from theclosestintegration orallied relations. They have very conditional, transparentborders. Andwhen crossing them thecitizens feel athome. They createfamilies, study, work, do business. Incidentally, so do millions ofthose borninUkraine who now live inRussia. We see them asour own close people.

Russiais open todialogue with Ukraine andready todiscuss themost complex issues.But it is important forus tounderstand that our partner is defending itsnational interests but not serving someone else's, andis not atool insomeoneelse's hands tofight against us.

Werespect theUkrainian language andtraditions. We respect Ukrainians' desire tosee their country free, safe andprosperous.

Iam confidentthat true sovereignty ofUkraine is possible only inpartnership with Russia.Our spiritual, human andcivilizational ties formed forcenturies andhave theirorigins inthesame sources, they have been hardened bycommon trials,achievements andvictories. Our kinship has been transmitted from generation togeneration. It is inthehearts andthememory ofpeople living inmodernRussia andUkraine, intheblood ties that unite millions ofour families.Together we have always been andwill be many times stronger andmoresuccessful. Forwe are one people.

Today,these words may be perceived bysome people with hostility. They can beinterpreted inmany possible ways. Yet, many people will hear me. AndIwillsay one thing– Russia has never been andwill never be”anti-Ukraine“. Andwhat Ukraine will be– it is up toits citizenstodecide.


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What was the relationship between Russia and Ukraine? ›

Both Russians and Ukrainians fought in nearly all armies based on personal political beliefs. In 1922, Ukraine and Russia were two of the founding members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and were the signatories of the treaty that terminated the union in December 1991.

What is the conflict between Russia and Ukrainian? ›

Russo-Ukrainian War
Date20 February 2014 – present (8 years, 7 months, 2 weeks and 1 day)
Territorial changesBetween 2014 and 2022: Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation Seizure of territory in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russia separatists Since 2022: Invasion of mainland Ukraine by Russia
1 more row

Why did Putin annex Crimea from Ukraine? ›

Vladimir Putin said that Russian troops in the Crimean peninsula were aimed "to ensure proper conditions for the people of Crimea to be able to freely express their will," whilst Ukraine and other nations argue that such intervention is a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty.

What agreement was made between Ukraine and Russia? ›

Russian–Ukrainian Friendship Treaty
Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation
SignedMay 31, 1997
Effective1 April 2000
Expiration31 March 2019
SignatoriesUkraine Russia
1 more row

Why is Ukraine not in NATO? ›

Plans for NATO membership were shelved by Ukraine following the 2010 presidential election in which Viktor Yanukovych, who preferred to keep the country non-aligned, was elected President. Amid the unrest, caused by the Euromaidan protests, Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February 2014.

How does Russia and Ukraine affect the world? ›

Ukraine and Russia account for about a third of the world's wheat and a quarter of barley production, not to mention some 75% of the sunflower oil supply — all critical commodities for keeping humans fed.

Why did Russia declare war in Ukraine 2022? ›

He said the purpose of the "operation" was to "protect the people" in the predominantly Russian-speaking region of Donbas who he falsely claimed that "for eight years now, [had] been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kyiv regime".

When did Ukraine separate from Russia? ›

Ukraine became independent again when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. This started a period of transition to a market economy, in which Ukraine suffered an eight-year recession. Subsequently however, the economy experienced a high increase in GDP growth until the economy plunged during the Great Recession.

How do Ukrainians feel about Russian invasion? ›

According to a University of Chicago June 2022 poll , 97 percent of Ukrainians see Russia's invasion as a major threat to Ukraine's security, and 97 percent want Russia to compensate Ukraine for the destruction it has caused.

Who did Crimea originally belong to? ›

The Crimean interior came under the control of the Turco-Mongol Golden Horde from 1239 to 1441. The name Crimea (via Italian, from Turkic Qirim) originates as the name of the provincial capital of the Golden Horde, the city now known as Staryi Krym.

Why is Crimea important to Russia? ›

In 1783, the Russian Empire annexed Crimea after an earlier war with Turkey. Crimea's strategic position led to the 1854 Crimean War and many short lived regimes following the 1917 Russian Revolution. When the Bolsheviks secured Crimea it became an autonomous soviet republic within Russia.

What does it mean to annex a country? ›

annexation, a formal act whereby a state proclaims its sovereignty over territory hitherto outside its domain. Unlike cession, whereby territory is given or sold through treaty, annexation is a unilateral act made effective by actual possession and legitimized by general recognition.

Why does Ukraine have no nuclear weapons? ›

In 1994, Ukraine agreed to destroy the weapons, and to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Does Ukraine have any nuclear weapons left? ›

Ukraine Has No Nuclear Weapons Program

There were also several locations in Ukraine where Soviet tactical nuclear weapons were stored. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia retained control of these weapons under the aegis of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Does Ukraine have nuclear weapons? ›

At the time Ukraine acceded to the NPT in December 1994, Ukraine had agreed to dispose of all nuclear weapons within its territory. The warheads were removed from Ukraine by 1996 and disassembled in Russia.

Is NATO the strongest military alliance in the world? ›

NATO, which was formed in 1949, is the most powerful military alliance in the world. At its formation, NATO had 12 member countries, which has now increased to 29 member countries and four aspiring member countries.

Is Japan a NATO member? ›

In April this year, the four countries participated in NATO's foreign ministerial meeting and they agreed to continue supporting Ukraine and to step up cooperation given the "global implications" of Russia's war on Ukraine. Australia, Japan and South Korea are all U.S. security allies.

Why Sweden is not in NATO? ›

In 1949 Sweden chose not to join NATO and declared a security policy aiming for non-alignment in peace and neutrality in war. Sweden joined Partnership for Peace in 1994.

What does Ukraine supply the world? ›

In 2021, either the Russian Federation or Ukraine, or both, ranked among the top three global exporters of wheat, barley, maize, rapeseed and rapeseed oil, sunflower seed and sunflower oil.

How important is Ukraine to the world? ›

Ukraine is an important breadbasket, producing around half of the world's sunflower oil. According to the USDA, Ukraine accounts for 15% of global trade in corn and 10% of of global wheat trade.

How does Russia invading Ukraine affect global economy? ›

The increased geopolitical risks induced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine will weigh adversely on global economic conditions throughout 2022. Such effects are estimated in our model to reduce GDP and boost inflation significantly, exacerbating the policy trade-offs facing central banks around the world.

Why did Germany declare war on Russia? ›

Germany declared war on Russia in support of Austria and on France because of her alliance with Russia. Britain declared war on Germany in support of Belgium and France, and on Turkey because of her alliance with Germany.

How many Russians died in Ukraine war? ›

Military losses have been heavy on both sides, with about 9,000 Ukrainians and as many as 25,000 Russians said to be killed.

How many tanks does Russia have? ›

However, Russia still has some 2,000 battle-ready tanks at hand, as well as an enormous amount in storage. The Military Balance 2021 database says Russian storage facilities have around 10,200 tanks, including various T-72s, 3,000 T-80s, and 200 T-90s.

Was Ukraine ever a part of Russia? ›

After the Russian Revolution, a Ukrainian national movement re-emerged, and formed the Ukrainian People's Republic in 1917. This short-lived state was forcibly reconstituted by the Bolsheviks into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which became a founding member of the Soviet Union in 1922.

Which side was Ukraine on in ww2? ›

Ukrainian collaboration with Nazi Germany took place during the occupation of Poland and the Ukrainian SSR by Nazi Germany in World War II.

What religion is Ukraine country? ›

While nearly 80 percent of Ukrainians profess affiliation with an Orthodox denomination, some 10 percent of the population — particularly in western Ukraine — belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

What percentage of Ukraine is Russian? ›

Numbers. 2001 census showed that 95.9% of Russians in Ukraine consider the Russian language to be native for them, 3.9% named Ukrainian to be their native language. The majority, 59.6% of Ukrainian Russians were born in Ukraine. They constitute 22.4% of all urban population and 6.9% of rural population in the country.

What do you call someone who loves Russia? ›

(Learn how and when to remove this template message) Russophilia (literally love of Russia or Russians) is admiration and fondness of Russia (including the era of the Soviet Union and/or the Russian Empire), Russian history and Russian culture.

What language do Ukrainians speak? ›

There are approximately 20 languages spoken in Ukraine. According to the 2001 census, 67% of the population speak Ukrainian and 30% speak Russian as their first language. Ukrainian, the official language, belongs with Russian and Belarusian to the East Slavic branch of the Slavic language family.

What does it mean Oblast? ›

Definition of oblast

: a political subdivision of Imperial Russia or a republic of the Soviet Union or of Russia.

What was Crimea called in ancient times? ›

Before it was even known as Crimea, for example, the peninsula was known was "Taurica" by the Greek and Roman empires, both of which at points incorporated the region into their empires.

What did the Greeks call Crimea? ›

Taurica, Tauric Chersonese, and Tauris were names by which the Crimean Peninsula was known in classical antiquity and well into the early modern period.

What two countries are Ukraine's largest trading partners? ›

List of Largest Trading Partners of Ukraine
  • China: US$8 billion (12.1% of total Ukrainian exports)
  • Poland: $5 billion (7.6%)
  • Turkey: $4 billion (6.1%)
  • Russia: $3.3 billion (5.1%)
  • Italy: $3.2 billion (4.9%)
  • Germany: $2.8 billion (4.2%)
  • India: $2.5 billion (3.8%)
  • Netherlands: $2.1 billion (3.2%)
15 May 2022

What percentage of Crimea is Russian? ›

Ethnicities and languages
Ethnic group1785 census2014 census2
Crimean Tatars (+ Tatars)84.1%12.6%
6 more rows

Who won the Crimean War? ›

The British won thanks to the dogged determination of their infantry, who were supported as the day went on by French reinforcements. The British suffered 2,500 killed and the French 1,700. Russians losses amounted to 12,000.

Who did the US buy Hawaii from? ›

In 1893, a group of American expatriates and sugar planters supported by a division of U.S. Marines deposed Queen Liliuokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawaii. One year later, the Republic of Hawaii was established as a U.S. protectorate with Hawaiian-born Sanford B.

Is it legal to annex a country? ›

The illegality of annexation means that states carrying out such acts usually avoid using the word annexation in describing their actions; in each of the unresolved annexations by Israel, Morocco and Russia, the states have avoided characterizing their actions as such.

What is the difference between annexation and colonization? ›

Definition of annexation: the action of annexing something, especially territory. Definition of colonization: the action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area.

Does Russia have nuclear weapons that can reach the US? ›

It also limits the deployed Avangard and the under development Sarmat, the two most operationally available of the Russian Federation's new long-range nuclear weapons that can reach the United States.

Can the UK stop a nuclear missile? ›

Professor Futter said: "We don't have the ability to intercept and destroy incoming Russian ballistic missiles. “Since the early Cold War, the UK has effectively relied on deterrence because defence (either active missile defences or passive civil defence) are hugely expensive and in some cases unworkable.

Can a nuke be intercepted? ›

The short answer is yes, nuclear bombs can be intercepted, albeit quite difficult to do. Ballistic missiles are used to deliver nuclear bombs in a flight trajectory. To counter ballistic missiles, the Soviet Union developed anti-ballistic missiles in the 1960s in the thick of the Nuclear Arms Race to protect the USSR.

Why did Ukraine not join NATO? ›

Plans for NATO membership were shelved by Ukraine following the 2010 presidential election in which Viktor Yanukovych, who preferred to keep the country non-aligned, was elected President. Amid the unrest, caused by the Euromaidan protests, Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February 2014.

Can nuclear weapons be stopped? ›

Halting an atomic weapon is theoretically possible, say experts, but in reality is an enormous challenge. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has raised the fear of nuclear weapons to a level not seen since the Cold War.

Does NATO have nuclear weapons? ›

Nuclear weapons are a core component of NATO's overall capabilities for deterrence and defence, alongside conventional and missile defence forces.

Which country has the most powerful weapons in the world? ›

Here are the 10 countries with the most nuclear weapons:
  • Russia - 6,257.
  • United States - 5,550.
  • China - 350.
  • France - 290.
  • United Kingdom - 225.
  • Pakistan - 165.
  • India - 156.
  • Israel - 90.

Which country has most atomic bomb? ›

Reports on countries' nuclear arsenals vary, but the consensus is Russia has the largest number in its arsenal, followed by the United States. According to Business Insider, Russia has a nuclear arsenal of 6,850 nuclear weapons (1,600 deployed, 2,750 stored and 2,500 retired).

Does Canada have nuclear weapons? ›

Canada does not have nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons or relevant delivery systems, and is a member in good standing of all relevant nonproliferation treaties and regimes.

When did Ukraine separate from Russia? ›

Ukraine became independent again when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. This started a period of transition to a market economy, in which Ukraine suffered an eight-year recession. Subsequently however, the economy experienced a high increase in GDP growth until the economy plunged during the Great Recession.

When was Ukraine ruled by Russia? ›

Ukraine had experienced a brief period of independence in 1918–20, but portions of western Ukraine were ruled by Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia in the period between the two World Wars, and Ukraine thereafter became part of the Soviet Union as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (S.S.R.).

Why did Russia cut off gas to Ukraine? ›

November 2015 gas supplies stop

According to Gazprom it had halted deliveries because Ukraine had not paid them for the next delivery. Since then, Ukraine has been able to fulfil its gas supply needs solely from European Union states.

How do Ukrainians feel about Russian invasion? ›

According to a University of Chicago June 2022 poll , 97 percent of Ukrainians see Russia's invasion as a major threat to Ukraine's security, and 97 percent want Russia to compensate Ukraine for the destruction it has caused.

Was Ukraine ever a part of Russia? ›

After the Russian Revolution, a Ukrainian national movement re-emerged, and formed the Ukrainian People's Republic in 1917. This short-lived state was forcibly reconstituted by the Bolsheviks into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which became a founding member of the Soviet Union in 1922.

Which side was Ukraine on in ww2? ›

Ukrainian collaboration with Nazi Germany took place during the occupation of Poland and the Ukrainian SSR by Nazi Germany in World War II.

What religion is Ukraine country? ›

While nearly 80 percent of Ukrainians profess affiliation with an Orthodox denomination, some 10 percent of the population — particularly in western Ukraine — belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

What country has the most Ukrainian refugees? ›

The countries receiving the largest numbers of refugees were Russia (2.4 million), Poland (1.4 million), Germany (1 million) and the Czech Republic (0.4 million). The communications chief of the UN High Commission for Human Rights called the speed of the exodus of refugees from Ukraine "phenomenal".

Where did Ukraine originate from? ›

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. The history of Ukrainian nationality can be traced back to the kingdom of Kievan Rus' of the 9th to 12th centuries. It was the predecessor state to what would eventually become the Eastern Slavic nations of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.

Why did Khrushchev give Crimea to Ukraine? ›

He was ethnically Russian, but he really felt great affinity with Ukraine." Sergei Khrushchev, Khrushchev's son, claimed that the decision was due to the building of a hydro-electric dam on the Dnieper River and the consequent desire for all the administration to be under one body.

Can Europe survive without Russian gas? ›

The main conclusion is that the EU could not only manage its next winter without Russian gas, but it could also do so without having to experience economic catastrophe or electrical disruptions.

Where does Ukraine get its oil? ›

Ukraine imports most of its petroleum products from Belarus, Russia, and Germany. Crude oil imports, sourced increasingly from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, supply Ukraine's sole operating refinery, the Kremenchug facility.

What percentage of Ukraine is Russian? ›

Numbers. 2001 census showed that 95.9% of Russians in Ukraine consider the Russian language to be native for them, 3.9% named Ukrainian to be their native language. The majority, 59.6% of Ukrainian Russians were born in Ukraine. They constitute 22.4% of all urban population and 6.9% of rural population in the country.

What do you call someone who loves Russia? ›

(Learn how and when to remove this template message) Russophilia (literally love of Russia or Russians) is admiration and fondness of Russia (including the era of the Soviet Union and/or the Russian Empire), Russian history and Russian culture.

What language do Ukrainians speak? ›

There are approximately 20 languages spoken in Ukraine. According to the 2001 census, 67% of the population speak Ukrainian and 30% speak Russian as their first language. Ukrainian, the official language, belongs with Russian and Belarusian to the East Slavic branch of the Slavic language family.


1. Identities. Ukraine and Russia: the Imagination of a Region
(SPUI 25)
2. The Crisis in Ukraine in Historical Context
(NHC Education Programs)
3. Explained: Why Putin’s Ukraine obsession led to Russia invasion
(Channel 4 News)
4. Historical Conversations: Russia vs. Ukraine
(Hoover Institution)
5. Teach-in: Lessons from History for Russia's War in Ukraine
(Elliott School of International Affairs)
6. Russia Ukraine Conflict: More Than Meets the Eye
(EU for You)

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