"Putin Cannot Erase Ukraine", written by Maria Popova and Oxana Shevel, was published in Foreign Affairs on February 1, 2022. Here's an excerpt:
"Russian President Vladimir Putin has made no secret of how he regards Ukraine, the nation he is threatening to invade. At the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, Putin told U.S. President George W. Bush that the former Soviet state “is not even a country.” The Russian president believes the Ukrainians and the Russians are one people. It follows that Ukrainians cannot reject being part of Russia and any “anti-Russian” sentiment in Ukraine must be the result of Western meddling rather than a reflection of the preferences of Ukrainians. Putin has used this argument to characterize peaceful political mobilization in Ukraine as foreign-orchestrated coups. He also dismisses polls showing that Ukrainians now favor European Union and NATO accession over membership in Russian-led political and economic organizations."