Two years ago, Vladimir Putin said Russia had no plans to annex Crimea. Two weeks later, Russia annexed Crimea.

Suspected Russian troops had already been occupying the territory in eastern Ukraine. So Putin's words weren't taken that seriously.

Today across Ukraine, there's a dark and brooding acceptance of the annexation. And in many ways, the annexation of Crimea turned many Ukrainians who had not previously felt great nationalism into patriots.

The Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha are now perhaps the country's best-known cultural ambassadors.

DakhaBrakha have played Coachella and Bonnaroo where they've sung to thousands in their native languag. Their music doesn't thump, but instead goes into modal space.

Marko Galanevych is a member of the band. "We are musicians. We have our own task and our future. ... For example, we decided to unite Ukraine in our city. We take songs from different regions of Ukraine, from Crimea ... from east and west and central parts of Ukraine. And to describe all the variety of Ukrainian singing in one city and in this way to show the unity of Ukraine."

And people around the globe are behind the band. "We feel their solidarity and support."

But at any time, Galanevych knows that he could be called up and drafted into the army. He knows friends who have served and who have died. "Of course this war takes a big part of my mind," he says. "But we have no other choice. If it's necessary then I will do this without any doubt."

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From PRI's The World ©2015 Public Radio International