President Petro Poroshenko dismissed the notion that Russians and Ukrainians share a brotherly tie. However, ethnic Russians are the largest minority in Ukraine, comprising at least 17 percent of its population.
Talking to a senior retired Ukrainian diplomat, Yury Shcherbak, who acted as Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Canada and Israel during his career, Poroshenko agreed that the brotherhood of Ukrainians and Russians is “a mythology of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s.”
“You’ve hit nail on the head. We don’t have any brotherly peoples in this current war. There are united Ukrainian peoples on their way to Europe and then there the Russian people, who are in a deep crisis,” the Ukrainian leader claimed on Thursday, as cited on the presidential website.
Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are three closely related Slavic peoples sharing centuries of common history and life in a common country. In Russia, Ukrainians are considered brothers – often with the implication that Russians are the “elder brother” in the family.