For the sake of argument, let us posit an essential Ukrainian identity, a unified one regardless of language.
Language is but one part of cultural affinity, and sometimes not the crucial one, after all.
Even with that stipulation, it is not clear if the Ukrainian people are united at all in wanting to be in either the Western or Russian spheres of influence. Ukraine has a split identity, with some fraction feeling more European, another closer to Russian. This is the long term parameter regarding Ukraine, one that will not go away. Centuries of history make it so.
The best long-term strategy for them would be to navigate carefully between Europe and Russia, falling into neither camp, maintaining their cultural uniqueness and independence. The outside powers should have a de facto understanding that Ukraine is not to be used as pawn, but that both sides should be consulted on Ukrainian external matters. Okay, this paragraph is full of ideal BS platitudes, I know. But it still had to be stated.
To the extent ALL sides (Ukraine, the "West", Russia) can follow that basic game plan, (and cultivate a modicum of good faith dealing, and keep cynical power politics in check), the Ukraine could become a true gateway between Europe and the rest of Eurasia.
Hmmm, now that I think about it, the odds are not looking good . . .