The 2014 crisis came about as a consequence of Russian myths and stereotypes about Russia, Ukraine, the Russian World and Eurasia which had nothing to do with reality but nevertheless, guided official policies. Russia invaded and annexed Crimea but failed to engineer mass protests in south-eastern Ukraine showing ‘New Russia’ to be nothing more than a myth. The DNR and the LNR will remain in limbo between Russia and Ukraine for years to come with neither country wanting to pay the price of their integration. At the same time, the distribution of Russian passports in the DNR and the LNR will bring them closer to Russia and make reintegration very difficult.

In 2014, pro-Russian nationalist extremists in south-eastern Ukraine and the ‘red-white-brown’ coalition believed Putin would follow the annexation of Crimea with the annexation of ‘New Russia.’ Putin’s goal was more ambitious; he wanted to capture all of Ukraine, not just one of its regions. The reason a peace deal has eluded Poroshenko and Zelenskyy is because no Ukrainian president could ever agree to the Kremlin’s demands for capitulation in the Donbas and transform Ukraine into a second Belarus.