Russia is bullying Ukraine into submission, setting the stage for a more assertive Moscow.
To Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukraine isn’t a foreign country—Ukraine is part of Russia.
In his version of history, Russia traces its origins back to Kievan Rus—the first Slavic state that centered on Kiev, Ukraine’s capital. The Kievan Rus ruled Moscow and much of the area that is now Russia’s heartland.
Today, many Ukrainians reject the idea that they and the Russians are one people. They find Putin’s description of Ukraine as “little Russia” offensive. Much of Ukraine’s youth would love to be rid of their self-proclaimed big brother, but they’re weighed down with one major curse: Russia still needs Ukraine.
If Ukraine were to ally itself with an enemy nation, Russia can forget about being a world power. Ukraine is a dagger pointed at the Russian heartlands. There are no natural, defensible barriers to stop an invader from Ukraine.
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