Are Ukrainian and Russian mutually intelligible?
Popular opinion that Russian and Ukrainian are mutually intelligible comes from the fact that most people in Ukraine and many in densely populated parts of Southern Russia (mostly Kuban’ and territories North and East from Kharkiv, e.g. large parts of Voronezh region) were living in mixed language environments for most time in XX century, so they were exposed to both languages:
As of 2020, there is a whole new generation of Ukrainian-speaking people who have very basic Russian skills (mostly in the West) and Russians with no Ukrainian at all. Granted, first can understand Russian, because of its high presence in the media, but often can’t speak it well.