People of modern Russia, Ukraine and Belarus all claim a federation of East Slavic tribes called Kievan Rus' as their cultural ancestor. An independent state of Ukraine exists for less than 20 years, which is a very short time interval compared to centuries being controlled by USSR, Russia, Rzeczpospolita, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire. Until recently some people from far away parts of the world believed Ukraine to be a small part of the Russian Federation or even haven't suspected of its existence while Russia and former USSR were recognized worldwide.
Perception of Ukraine and Russia as separate states and nations started with the beginning of military conflicts in Ukraine. No wonder that a big percentage of Ukraine's population are having deep Russian roots and call themselves Russians in spite of having Ukrainian citizenship. No wonder that a considerable part of women from the countries of former USSR are Russians while living not in Russia. Nowadays Ukrainians and citizens of Ukraine can freely profess their national traits, expressed in language and culture.