In 1969, I visited Kiev, then part of the Soviet Union. Our official Inturist guide from Moscow, Comrade Irene, took our tour group to a square in the center of which was an equestrian statue of a Ukrainian hero with his battle mace pointed toward Moscow. Her party-line comment was that the mace signified Ukrainian love for their brother Russians. The mace was really a challenge to Moscow Soviets.
A quote from Winston Churchill, "Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
An old proverb attributed to Napoleon, "Scratch a Russian and you find a Tartar." Tartars are found in the Ukraine.
I am not sure how or if this remembrance and these two quotes apply to the current situation.