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EU–Russian Relations and the Ukraine Crisis

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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Chapter 3: Assessing the external trade policies of the EU and Russia towards Ukraine: geoeconomic competition in Ukraine?

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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