The centuries-long fight for Ukraine's national identity : Throughline Months before Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, he published an essay on the Kremlin website called "On The Historical Unity of Russia and Ukraine." In it, he suggested that Ukrainians don't really have their own identity — and that they never have. Historian Serhii Plokhii says that couldn't be further from the truth. The histories of the two countries are deeply intertwined, but Ukrainian identity is unique. Today, we explore that identity: how it formed, its relationship to Russia, and how it helps us understand what's happening now.

Ukraine's Dangerous Independence

Ukraine's Dangerous Independence

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KYIV, UKRAINE - MARCH 05: A member of a Territorial Defence unit guards a barricade next to writing saying " Glory To Ukraine" close to the eastern frontline on March 05, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Russia continues assault on Ukraine's major cities, including the capital Kyiv, more than a week after launching a large-scale invasion of the country. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Chris McGrath/Getty Images hide caption

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Chris McGrath/Getty Images

KYIV, UKRAINE - MARCH 05: A member of a Territorial Defence unit guards a barricade next to writing saying " Glory To Ukraine" close to the eastern frontline on March 05, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Russia continues assault on Ukraine's major cities, including the capital Kyiv, more than a week after launching a large-scale invasion of the country. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Months before Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, he published an essay on the Kremlin website called "On The Historical Unity of Russia and Ukraine." In it, he suggested that Ukrainians don't really have their own identity — and that they never have. Historian Serhii Plokhii says that couldn't be further from the truth. The histories of the two countries are deeply intertwined, but Ukrainian identity is unique. Today, we explore that identity: how it formed, it's relationship to Russia, and how it helps us understand what's happening now.

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