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This article explores perceptions of the IR roles of the European Union, the three Baltic states, Russia, and Ukraine derived from metaphors traced in interviews with young Ukrainian elites and in articles published by the three most popular Ukrainian online news platforms. We observe that the Ukrainian media and young elites assign positive evaluations to the three Baltic states and very negative ones to Russia. We also identify clashes in metaphor scenarios in relation to the EU and Baltic states and reveal specific “mininarratives” for each actor, differentiating them along a continuum of perceived readiness to help Ukraine. We contend that Ukraine’s self-conception has evolved from “hero” to “victim” but remains oriented toward Europe.


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