Just before the Berlin Wall came down I was working in Hungary - teaching English to students from The Technical University of Budapest. One evening, I was walking through the city with Ferenc - one of the students. We came to a small marketplace and I noticed twenty or so people in a row holding various items in their hands - batteries, combs, bottles of shampoo, hair slides, screwdrivers etc.. Their arms were extended and they were calling out. It was clear that they were trying to sell these items. It was like a market without tables or stalls.
I asked Ferenc what was going on and he said, "Oh, they are Poles!" Later he explained that they were very used to seeing Poles in Hungary - rather desperate people trying to get their feet on the economic ladder in Budapest. A couple of weeks later, near the southern border of the country I came across a similar "market" but here the sellers were Romanian.
These experiences illustrated that, in terms of identity and belonging, central Europe is not at all like England. As history has marched on, the borders of central Europe have been pretty fluid. There are ethnic Hungarians living in Romania and ethnic Romanians and Poles living in Hungary. It is a complex web of languages and cultures, not necessarily defined by the borders we find in modern atlases
It might be convenient to see a cartoon picture in our minds in which the evil tyrant Putin marches into Ukraine to steal land on behalf of his renewed version of The Soviet Union but maybe it's not quite as simple as that. I'm just sayin'.