This contribution, not an academic essay but a collection of thoughts, is a concise and on-the-spot reflection made in Kyiv on some of the key points of Russia’s current war against Ukraine: the consolidation of Ukrainian identity in a European sense, the physical and cultural extermination of the Russian-speaking part of Ukraine by the Kremlin, and the close connection between ‘textual imperialism’ in 19th-century Russian literature and the Russia’s declared project of annihilating Ukrainian culture today. At the roots of this violence lies the vision promoted by the Putin regime of Europe and of Western civilization in general as an antagonistic model to Russia. And Kyiv is at the epicentre of this ideological clash. The contribution exposes those cultural differences in the evolution of Ukraine and Russia that have come to form the ideological foundation of Russia’s military attack. In the light of the events of 2022, this piece emphasises the need to review the interpretative paradigms between Eastern and Western Europe regarding the idea of Europe, the cultural history of Ukraine and the concept of the ‘Russian world’ on several levels: cultural, political, moral but also existential.