Russian Vs Ukraine – How the War Has Changed Attitudes

Russian Vs Ukraine

Whether the war in Ukraine is over or not, it has permanently changed attitudes in a country that once had strong cultural and economic bonds with Russia. Many now regard Moscow as an aggressive, imperialistic power that must be contained — and even deterred.

The Kremlin’s hubris rested on a fundamental failure to understand not just the deep roots of Ukrainian identity, but the extent to which that identity has matured since the Soviet collapse. Its assumptions were that a quick invasion of Crimea, where a majority of residents identify as Russian, would quickly coerce ordinary Ukrainians to accept a return of Moscow control. But that strategy proved a complete failure, as the assault on Kyiv and other cities extract heavy casualties and expose Moscow’s lack of manpower for a long-term occupation.

Preparations for the current invasion centered on mobilizing a flood of collaborators who would run occupation administrations in places like Kherson, but that failed to materialize. Even apolitical Ukrainians — and those who once supported the Yanukovych regime, and the more recent election of the pro-Western leader Volodymyr Zelensky — have not lined up to support Putin’s claims that the “fascist junta” in Kyiv is determined to drag Ukraine away from its historic identification with a Russian nation.

Against this backdrop, European nations have coordinated with each other to provide $75 billion in military, economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine. And despite the high price of oil and the fact that they will be required to house a million-plus displaced Ukrainians, they remain committed to deterring further Russian aggression. Likewise, Ukraine’s leaders have prioritized a deeper relationship with the Euro-Atlantic West as a hedge against future Russian intervention.