So if this invasion was about unifying the Russian and Ukrainian people as one – as Putin tried to imply in the essay he scripted last summer – it has also spectacularly failed. His actions have unified the Ukrainian people against him and Russia and solidified their desire to move West and join NATO and the EU.
Ukrainian national identity as separate from Russian is now much more vibrant and clear cut – because Putin himself in his rhetoric has tried to wipe Ukrainians off the land where they live. Ukrainians have seen Russian actions as genocide and are now clear cut as to who they are (Ukrainians) and who they don’t want to be (Russians).
Putin has in effect lost Ukraine to Russia likely for generations to come and certainly never while he remains in power.