Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin meet in Geneva, June 2021
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

In 2008, at a contentious NATO summit in Bucharest in which member states chose not to invite Ukraine to join the alliance, Russian President Vladimir Putin shared a candid moment with his U.S. counterpart, President George W. Bush. “George,” Putin said, “you have to understand that Ukraine is not even a country. Part of its territory is in Eastern Europe and the greater part was given to us.” In July of this year, Putin elaborated extensively on this theme in a long treatise entitled “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,” in which he insisted on the cultural and

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