Ukraine: The Birth Of A Nation

Ukraine: The Birth Of A Nation. By Jim Dunnigan.

Ukrainian Independence Day is celebrated every August 24th. The 2022 celebrations were more enthusiastic than in past years. The reason is that more Ukrainians (85 percent) identify themselves as Ukrainian first and all other associations take a backseat. Six months earlier it was only 64.4 percent.

Currently 91 percent of Ukrainians favor joining NATO and 96 percent favor joining the EU (European Union). The war with Russia did that, as well as polls showing 92 percent of Ukrainians have a bad attitude towards Russia while only two percent have a good attitude towards Russia.

The hostile attitudes towards Russia began rising after the 2004 “Orange Revolution” that ousted a Ukrainian president who was elected because he favored more economic ties with Europe but then changed his mind because of Russian bribes. Hostility towards Russia increased sharply after Russia seized Crimea and parts of Donbas in 2014. That led to Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s election as president in 2019. Zelenskiy pledged to reduce corruption and increase economic cooperation with Europe.

Zelenskiy’s defiant attitude towards Russia after the 2022 invasion rallied the nation behind him and he now has the trust of nearly 90 percent of the population. Russia expected Ukrainian morale to collapse because of the invasion but Zelenskiy openly declared Ukraine would never surrender and would fight to liberate all Russian occupied territory. Zelenskiy persuaded NATO nations to supply Ukraine with more and more modern weapons that Ukraine would use to defeat and expel the Russians.

The success of Ukrainian forces led to Ukrainian support for no negotiations with the Russians increasing from 77 percent in May to 84 percent in July. That means no peace deal that leaves the Russians in possession of any Ukrainian territory. Some 60 percent of Ukrainians back continuing the war until all the Russians are gone, even though this means fighting through the winter and growing shortages of food, fuel and housing because of Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure. …

This shift in attitudes towards Ukrainian success and against Russia has created a growing partisan movement in the occupied territory and open hostility towards Russian civilian and Ukrainian collaborators. More of these pro-Russia civilians are fleeing to Russia and Russian troops in the occupied territories find themselves under growing attack by the partisans, who are directly supported by Ukrainian special forces with clandestine supplies of weapons and air and missile attacks on targets identified by Ukrainian civilians in the occupied territories. This sort of thing hasn’t been seen in Europe since World War II, when it played a major role in driving the Germans out. The Russians never expected this degree of popular resistance and are unable to deal with it.

Ukrainians are less surprised because Ukrainians have been fighting foreign domination for about 1,500 years. It was 1,500 years ago that the first “Ukrainians” appeared, if you define a nationality as a common language and cultural customs. This occurred at the same time a unified Russia appeared and was able to expand more rapidly than Ukraine so that today there are six times more Russian than Ukrainian speakers. Forcing others to adopt your language is a common tool for linguistic expansion. Ukrainians had much less ambition for imperial expansion. This means that the continued existence of the Ukrainian language and nationalism is something of an achievement, one that Russia hoped to eliminate with a successful invasion of Ukraine in 2022. …

During World War II many Ukrainians welcomed the invading Germans as liberators. The Germans disagreed and treated the Ukrainians as not worthy of self-rule. In response the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) formed in 1943 to fight both Germans and Soviets. After 1945 the UPA received some recognition, but little support, from the West and ruthless efforts by the Soviets eliminated the UPA by 1955. …

This violent history with Russia and the Soviet Union played a major role in Ukraine (and Belarus) insisting on independence when the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991. Many Russians saw this Ukrainian independence as a temporary condition, something they went war over in 2022.

Ukraine liberates first Luhansk village as counter-offensive pushes on. By Tom Brown.

Ukraine has captured its first village in Luhansk as its counter-offensive presses further into Russia-occupied territory, refusing to slow after snatching back thousands of miles in east Ukraine from the Russian war machine. …

The village lies only a dozen or so miles from the towns of Lysychansk and Severdonestsk, regions that took Russia five months to conquer.

Ukraine is fighting its way from Russia to the West. Putin’s invasion clarified matters.