This is a guest post from our IISS-US intern, Madeleine Foley, talking about the recent agreement between Russia and Ukraine on gas transit and Crimean Naval Bases. As Europe continues to rely on Russian Gas to meet its climate targets, this will continue to remain an important focal area for climate and energy security.
Domestic politics aside, the Ukrainian opposition seems to be suffering from a vacuum of self-awareness. By attempting to shirk off its responsibility as a ‘bridge’ between the EU and Russia, it is making itself less valuable and less attractive to its Western friends and allies. Ukraine’s role as a political, economic and physical bridge between the EU and Russia is not a temporary charge, it is a geostrategic reality. Until it learns to grow legs, pick itself up and plop itself down somewhere between Denmark and Germany, Ukraine should get used to playing the role of mediator. This latest agreement is less a sign of President Yanukovich’s willingness to drag Ukraine kicking and screaming into the arms of Mother Russia than an indication that he recognizes Ukraine’s unique geostrategic limitations. The Ukrainian opposition should recognize the potential benefits of Russia’s willingness to pay so handsomely for continued recognition of its political and historical legacy in Ukraine.