The two-dimensional view of Russia and Putin we so often, even by otherwise serious natsec folks, is anti-intellectual and counter-productive in the
When You're Weak in "M" & "E" - Push "D" & "I"
She will never have a secure and friendly relationship with her big neighbor, Russia. The reasons could fill a small library, but she must try her best to remain independent and prosper in the modern world.
All you have to do is look at her per-capita GDP to see how far Ukraine has to go to even nibble at what some of her other Slavic neighbors have been able to achieve since the fall of the Iron Curtain (Ukraine $3,700; Serbia $15,200; Bulgaria $21,500; Poland $29,300). She is not an economic powerhouse.
Militarily, she is no match for the full force of Russia should she wish to use it.
As such, she needs to work the diplomatic and information fields of national power as much as possible in order to buy time for her to continue to evolve in to what she wants to become.
You can tell that she very much wants to be part of the West, and perhaps she can drift that way - but for now there are larger problems to deal with. Russia is unrelenting.
Ukraine's small navy will never be able to stand for long against Russia, but short of combat, there is much it can do to bring the attention of a busy world to what Russia is doing on her borders.
The blocking of the Mariupol and Berdiansk ports is already an act of aggression. ... According to Klymenko, the Ukrainian naval forces had to act more decisively toward the aggressor by attracting the attention of the international community.
"If there was an order from Kyiv, they could do more. For example, I would give such a mirror response. On May 21-23, Russia announced a large area south of Berdiansk closed for gunnery drills. I would have responded by declaring the area near Yeysk or Temryuk, or Kerch closed, i.e. where the Russian ships pass from Rostov through the Sea of Azov to the Kerch Strait," (Andriy Klymenko, editor-in-chief at BlackSeaNews) said.