About “The” Ukraine
There was a reason why we used the definite article.
When I was younger, we always referred to the country we now call Ukraine as “The Ukraine.” that is because the word “Ukraine” comes from the Slavic word “Ukraina” — which means “borderlands” (the word is the same in both Russian and Polish). So it was never really its own country.
Both the Russians and the Poles called it “the borderlands”.