To have any hope of healing the deep wound in the very heart of Europe that is the crisis in Ukraine, we must first separate two crises that have become intertwined. One is the crisis of Ukrainian statehood. The other is the crisis of Russian relations with the West.
The crisis of Ukrainian statehood cannot, in fact, be resolved by Western intervention. One reason is that even the most generous package of Western assistance imaginable is still an order of magnitude too small to stabilize the entire Ukrainian economy. Another reason is the West’s persistent failure to grasp that the current crisis is not the result of the civil war. Rather, the civil war is the result of the failure to resolve fundamental issues of national identity and statehood in a manner that satisfies both Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians. The fateful decision by Western governments to back one interpretation of Ukrainian nationhood in its effort to dominate over the rest merely ensures that this conflict will continue for decades to come.