As I said several pages back, most western Ukrainians considered themselves Rusyn / Ruthenian in the 1880s but abandoned the idea.  Of course, since this was a period of emmigration in Galicia, you had tons of 'Rusyn' who emmigrated to America and sometimes Slovakia and never dropped the idea.  The Ukrainian nation emerged as an economic and military bloc to avoid integration into Russia.  The Ruthenian concept was dismissed because everyone knew that a small nation consisting of Lviv, Volhynia and Subcarpathia couldn't survive against smaller regional entities like Hungary / Poland, let alone Russia.

Ukraine emerged as the civilasational response of Western Russ to the challenge of the Catholic West starting from 1596 (the Union of Brest) and having its peak in Khmelnitsky's rebellion. The Ukrainians at that time were all called Russins or Ruthens (Latinised ethnonim)

Not a very successful bloc.  The Ukrainian National Republic was flattened like a house of cards by the Soviet Union and the current contemporary Ukraine in Europe is the (largest) poorest country in Europe.  Culturally, my opinion through relatives in both Canada and Ukraine, the current Ukraine is simply like Italy, the 'Western' half being like Northern Italy (a part of Central Europe), whereas the 'Eastern' Ukraine is simply equally out of place similiar to Southern Italy (Eastern Ukraine used to be a part of Golden Horde and Crimean Khanate for centuries and simply has less European influence than say Lviv, Riga or St. Petersburg).

It';s quite a stereotypic division especially when compared to Italy in terms of economic impact and value. It is East and Central Ukraine that is the most economically developed and it gives most funds to the budget. So comparing it to the South Italy is completely incorrect. Morover, if you like to bring fourth the argument about Golden Horde (Ulus Jochi to be technical) and Crimean Khanate, the georgaphy is useless here because the Wild Area (Novorossia and East Ukraine) started to be settled only after the Crimean Khanate had been subduet in late 18th century. And the waves of colonisation went from all ways – from right bank Ukraine, from Balkans (Serbian and Bulgarian settlement under the Russian Crown), from Greater Russia proper. You are quite common in your opinion here. All is needed is to look at the map and make risky (unsubstiated by knowledge) comparisons.
Ukraine is the poorest per capita (except Moldova) state in Europe and there are reasons for that but theser are not subject for this thread.