When World War I broke out, the first modern Ukrainian military formation (the Sich Riflemen) was formed in Western Ukraine. The riflemen swore allegiance to the Austrians in order to ensure the defeat of Russia. On January 22, 1918 an independent Ukrainian Republic was proclaimed in Kyiv which included the Right and Left Bank areas of the Dnipro. On November 1st, after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, the Western Ukrainian Republic was proclaimed in Lviv. It formally merged with the Ukrainian National Republic in Kyiv on January 22, 1919. But due to war with the Russian Bolsheviks and the Poles, Ukrainian independence was short-lived. The Ukrainians themselves were not capable of uniting behind a single leader or policy of independence. Having been under both Polish and Russian rule, much of the Ukrainian intelligence was radicalized and predisposed to Lenin's clever rhetoric. Nevertheless, Lenin recognized the potency of a Ukrainian national awareness and granted the Ukrainians a
political identity in the form of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, rather than absorbing them into the Russian Federated Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1922, except for Galicia and parts of Volhynia and smaller regions which were incorporated into Romania and Czechoslovakia, the
Ukrainian SSR joined the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).