The Ukraine crisis is a power struggle between Ukraine and Russia. As one of the founding states of the Soviet Union, Ukraine had historically been an important part of the Russian sphere of influence. However, Ukraine is now on a course towards closer ties with Europe, rather than Russia. Ukraine desires to open its markets to the EU and develop its economy, which was perceived by Russia as a huge threat to its interests, and Vladimir Putin’s vision of a resurgent Russia. In March of 2014, after a popular uprising deposed Kremlin-backed Viktor Yankouvich, Russian forces invaded and occupied Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and provoked an internal conflict using Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Since then, relations between Ukraine, its Western partners, and Russia have continued to deteriorate, and efforts to reach a diplomatic settlement have failed.
Ambassador Steven Pifer is an affiliate of Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation and a non-resident fellow at Brookings Institution. He served as the ambassador to Ukraine and worked in embassies throughout Europe.
Send us an email at: Hopkinspofa@gmail.com