An alert reader has asked why I've dropped "the" in front of "Ukraine."
It's because another alert reader, Ginger, who is affiliated with Indiana University and one of my many Bloomington friends. She noted that Ukrainian students at the school have noted the difference.
Russians for decades have used "the" in front of "Ukraine" to imply the country is merely a region of Russia. This an insidious campaign that goes back to Stalin, who sent millions of Russians into other countries in the Soviet Republic to undermine their autonomy.
By using just "Ukraine," we acknowledge the sovereignty of Ukraine. I've only recently learned this.
Another IU professor educates us at this website: The Politics of “Ukraine” Versus “the Ukraine” - SAPIENS
Thanks, IU folks, for all you've done for me -- which often included buying me beer.
Pease unto Ukraine and peace and education unto all of you my brothers and sisters.