参考消息网3月15日报道 Ukrainian and Russian are both part of the Slavonic （or Slavic） language family. This group of related languages in central and eastern Europe also includes Polish， Czech and Bulgarian. A thousand years ago， the language spoken across Russian and Ukrainian territories would have been similar， like different dialects of the same language. Over time， under different historical influences， divergences appeared.
Ukraine became the eastern part of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth， absorbing significant amounts of Polish into its language. Moscow united the cities of the north and east into an independent state， eventually called Russia. So its language was shaped by contact with and immigration from areas to the east and the importation of foreign technical and cultural terms from western European countries like France， Germany and the Netherlands.
By the time Russia gained control of Ukraine in the 18th century， speakers in Russia and Ukraine were no longer as closely connected. Large shifts had emerged both in the languages' vocabularies， as well as in the sounds and grammar.
Today， Russian and Ukrainian are close relations: they share more vocabulary， grammar， and features of pronunciation with each other than they do with the other Slavonic languages. They both use the Cyrillic alphabet， but slightly different versions.
One frequently cited figure is that Ukrainian and Russian share about 62% of their vocabulary. This is about the same amount of shared vocabulary that English has with Dutch， according to the same calculations. If you expand your sample by scraping internet data to compare a broader range of words than just those 200 ancient “core” words， the proportion of shared words declines. One computational model suggests that Russian and Ukrainian share about 55% of their vocabulary.
Russian and Ukrainian emerged from the same ancestor language， and， in the grand scheme of things， not very long ago. It is easier for a Russian to learn Ukrainian （or vice versa） than it is for an English speaker trying to master either of those languages. Their shared vocabulary and the fact that even words that have different meanings may look familiar makes it easier for Russian or Ukrainian speakers to “tune into” the other. The languages are close enough and have coexisted long enough that they even have a hybrid called Surzhyk， which is in common use in many parts of Ukraine.
The similarities between the two shouldn't blind us to their distinct existence as separate entities， nor to the political implications of assuming they are one language.