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Ukraine Crisis

What It Means for the West

By Andrew Wilson
13-minute read
Audio available
Ukraine Crisis: What It Means for the West by Andrew Wilson

Ukraine Crisis (2014) addresses the peaceful protests and violent conflicts that have rocked Ukraine in recent years. This book take a look at the events surrounding the Maidan uprising, the Russian annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict in the Donbas. Importantly, the crisis is put into context not just for the future of Ukraine but also how it affects Russia, the European Union and the world.

  • Students and professors of history or politics
  • People interested in contemporary history
  • Anyone curious about the power play between Russia and the West

Andrew Wilson is an expert on post-Soviet Ukraine and Eastern European history. He is the professor of Ukrainian studies at the University College of London and a senior policy fellow at the European Council.

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Ukraine Crisis

What It Means for the West

By Andrew Wilson
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Ukraine Crisis: What It Means for the West by Andrew Wilson
Synopsis

Ukraine Crisis (2014) addresses the peaceful protests and violent conflicts that have rocked Ukraine in recent years. This book take a look at the events surrounding the Maidan uprising, the Russian annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict in the Donbas. Importantly, the crisis is put into context not just for the future of Ukraine but also how it affects Russia, the European Union and the world.

Key idea 1 of 8

Ukraine, sandwiched between Russia and the EU, is a country torn by old and new loyalties.

Since long before protests erupted in 2014, Ukraine has struggled with political and economic problems. Much of its trouble has to do with its location: Ukraine is wedged between Russia and Western Europe.

Unsurprisingly, Russia has a long history of intervention in Ukraine. Recently, the country has sought to reassert its control in the region, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ukraine however depends heavily on Russia's gas and oil reserves. Russia is well aware of this imbalance, and could easily drive Ukraine into bankruptcy by raising the price of fossil fuels. This position gives Russia a lot of leverage over its neighbor.

Russia has also funded certain Ukrainian politicians, who advocate political agendas written by Moscow, stressing pro-Russian and anti-Western actions.

On the other “side,” European Union countries also work to influence events in Ukraine. In 2008, the country began negotiations over an association agreement, a treaty with the European Union that creates a framework for strengthening Ukraine's political and economic ties with the West – much to Russia's chagrin.

The power of both the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been increasing, expanding eastward after the fall of the Iron Curtain. These two groups have brought more and more of Russia's former allies, such as Poland and the Baltics, into their fold.

Russia, in turn, has tried to aggressively guard its former sphere of influence.

This has put the European Union in an uncomfortable position. Member states have cut back on military spending while Russia is rearming – so provoking conflict is a dangerous game. And like Ukraine, the European Union also depends on a steady supply of Russian fossil fuels.

For some time, the strategy of the European Union was to simply ignore Ukraine’s growing predicament. Unfortunately, this ended up only making things worse.

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