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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 6: The Ukraine crisis

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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