Russia and Ukraine have a long history of tug-of-war. Some Ukrainians proclaimed their independence in 1917 when the Russian Empire collapsed. Others wanted a republic. Both sides have tried to sway Ukraine towards their side. Today, Ukraine is part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Ukraine and Russia have different perspectives on this conflict. For more information, visit our Ukraine travel guide. We’ve included several links to helpful resources.
A month into the Russian invasion, Russia announced that its main goal was “liberation of Donbas” (east Ukraine). Its proxy forces had occupied more than a third of the region during the previous war. In the end, the Kremlin said that it had achieved “generally accomplished” its aims, limiting Ukraine’s combat potential. But since the Ukrainian government withdrew from the Kyiv region, Russia has shifted its objectives.
The Carpathian Mountains are the true national symbol of Ukraine. This area is protected by UNESCO and is shared by 7 countries, with the largest part lying in Romania and only 10% in Ukraine. Its landscape is ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and winter sports, and offers opportunities for scuba diving, parachuting, and horseback riding. You can also experience a unique culture through Ukrainian cuisine, including chicken Kiev. In addition to a rich history of cuisine, Ukraine is home to some of the world’s best-known foods.
Before Russia invaded, Putin made the claim that Ukraine is not a country. This is true, but the country has been pulled into its orbit by its neighbor. The European countries see the western Ukraine as a potential threat. While both sides have different interests, the eastern part of Ukraine is closer to its European neighbors and a thriving industrial sector. However, Russian-Ukrainian relations are increasingly strained. This article aims to clarify the conflict and encourage better understanding between the two nations.
The Soviet Union’s historical relationship with Ukraine is complex. Its history includes several black chapters. Ukraine became part of the Russian empire under Catherine the Great in the early 19th century. During World War II, Stalin confiscated Ukraine’s farmland and wheat, resulting in a famine that killed about four million people. In 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved and Ukraine became independent. It later agreed to transfer its nuclear arsenal to Russia.
Before the 17th century, most of what is now Ukraine was controlled by the Polish-Lithuanian nobility. Before that, the country’s inhabitants were primarily Orthodox East Slavs who tended to form semi-autonomous Cossack societies. While the majority of them felt a deep affinity to Muscovite Russia, they were not interested in becoming part of it. In 1648, Cossacks formed the Zaporizhian Sich and Cossack ‘Hetmanate’. In the 17th century, these Cossacks established independence and became largely autonomous.
While the present-day eastern part of Ukraine should have been part of the “historical South of Russia” or “primordially Russian territory” in the 1920s, this is untrue on two counts. Firstly, the Russians did not have a significant presence in eastern Ukraine before the 19th century, nor did they colonize it. The other reason is that Ukraine’s south-eastern boundary was drawn without consideration of the ethnic composition of its population.