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Nicholas R. Smith

This chapter examines trade as a sector of the EU–Russia–Ukraine triangular relationship. First, a section on the EU’s foreign trade policy towards Ukraine and a section on Russia’s foreign trade policy towards Ukraine is presented. Regarding the EU, after a brief overview of its historical trade relationship with Ukraine, its offer of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) is examined. For Russia, after a short survey of its historical trade relationship with Ukraine, its offer to Ukraine of membership in its fledgeling Eurasian integration projects (the Eurasian Customs Union, Eurasian Common Economic Space and Eurasian Economic Union) is analysed. The last section of the chapter first examines Ukraine’s response and then concludes that the triangular relationship was beset by competition, although this competition was somewhat mediated by the prevalent trade interdependence of the triangle. Indeed, despite the apparent zero-sum game at the heart of the trade relationship, the potential for trilateral cooperation remained in the background.
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Nicholas R. Smith

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Nicholas R. Smith

This chapter examines security as an area of the EU–Russia–Ukraine triangular relationship. First, the EU’s attempt to promote a pro-EU regime in Kiev and Russia’s counter-attempt to secure a loyal regime in Kiev is examined. For the EU, after outlining its historical security focus in its foreign policies for Eastern Europe, its specific Association Agreement policy is considered in relation to its efforts to secure a pro-EU regime in Ukraine. Regarding Russia, after an overview of its historical security aims in its foreign policies for Eastern Europe, its security policy, as enshrined in its Eurasian integration project(s), sought to impede Ukraine from siding with the EU and keep it within Russia’s sphere of privileged interest. After examining Ukraine’s response, it is concluded that the EU and Russia clearly had conflicting security aims for Ukraine as neither side was prepared to make compromises on their policies. Thus, what ensued was a zero-sum game where both sides competed in securing the compliance of Ukraine within their own security architectures, leading to a marked increase in instability.
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Nicholas R. Smith

This book assesses the competitive and contentious EU–Russia relationship in relation to Ukraine from 2010 to 2013, focusing on the important areas of trade, energy and security. The key issue explored is whether this relationship played any meaningful role in the deterioration of the situation in Ukraine since late 2013.
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Nicholas R. Smith

This chapter represents a bridge chapter between the theoretical framework and the three ensuing empirical chapters on the sectors of trade, energy and security. The aim of the chapter is to undertake an assessment of the international and regional geopolitical environments in which the EU, Russia and Ukraine currently reside. First, the concept of power in International Relations is engaged with, with five key power dimensions in Eastern Europe identified: military, economic, energy, diplomatic and soft power. Second, a deeper examination of the altering international and regional European setting is undertaken, with a particular focus on what a multipolar international system with a bipolar Eastern Europe might entail. Third, a crude power calculation for both the international and European regional systems is presented with a strong focus on auditing the power of the EU and Russia. After that, the changing geopolitical setting is connected with an examination of the changing foreign policies of the EU and Russia over the past two decades. Last, it is argued that the impact of the international and regional systems on Ukraine, particularly its position between two larger powers in the EU and Russia, makes pursuing its long-held multi-vector foreign policy logic much more challenging.
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Nicholas R. Smith

This chapter examines energy (specifically gas) as a sector of the EU–Russia–Ukraine triangular relationship. First, a section on the EU’s foreign energy policy towards Ukraine and Russia’s foreign energy policy towards Ukraine is offered. For the EU, after an initial examination of its historical relationship with Russia and Ukraine, its Energy Community initiative is examined. Regarding Russia, after an overview of its historical relationship with the EU and Ukraine, its two-pronged energy policy (economic and political) is analysed. In the last section, after examining Ukraine’s response, it is concluded that the energy relationship only had weak competition, as both competition and cooperation simultaneously existed in the triangle. Thus, the emergence of only weak competition, despite clear policy incompatibilities of the EU and Russia, was a product of the complexities of the producer–transit–consumer relationship, which naturally produced dissimilar but not necessarily conflicting foreign policy goals for each of the actors.
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Nicholas R. Smith

This chapter develops a novel theoretical framework for assessing the competitiveness of the EU’s and Russia’s foreign policies towards Ukraine. First, the popular theoretical approaches found in the literature for both the EU and Russia are examined to justify the decision to employ a neoclassical realist-inspired framework. While constructivism is acknowledged as representing a potentially useful theoretical approach for analysing EU–Russian relations, its predominately philosophical focus coupled with its methodological weaknesses are deemed significant constraints on producing problem-driven research which offers policy-relevant insights. Second, the tradition of neoclassical realism is examined with a particular focus on its position at the juncture of the disciplines of International Relations and Foreign Policy Analysis. Due to its flexibility, neoclassical realism, it is argued, represents, of all the potential realist approaches, perhaps the most fruitful and practical approach for examining the complexities of EU–Russian relations in the context of Ukraine. Last, a novel version of neoclassical realism is constructed by choosing specific intervening variables – identity, perceptions and the domestic foreign policy-making process. Building on this, a specific competition–cooperation matrix is designed to help guide the evaluation of competition in the following empirical chapters.
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Nicholas R. Smith

This chapter brings the Ukraine crisis to the fore of the analysis. First, six rough phases of the Ukraine crisis to date are identified and elaborated: begining with initial popular mobilisation led by the EuroMaidan movement up until a post-Minsk II agreement impasse. Thereafter, given that all three of the examined areas of the relationship – trade, energy and security – have experienced shifts (some significantly) since the onset of the crisis, a section on each of trade, energy and security are offered to give further insights into the competitiveness of EU–Russian relations in Ukraine. Lastly, the three intervening variables – identity, perceptions and domestic foreign policy-making process – are brought into the analysis and provide a deeper look at what is still a complex and multi-layered triangle relationship. It is argued that while the crisis does, on the surface, confirm that the relationship has become ultra-competitive, the complexity of the relationship meant that competition was not merely born from policies or geopolitical changes but by the interaction of the intervening variables which affected foreign policy-making significantly for both the EU and Russia.
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Laura Von Daniels

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Laura Von Daniels