Daily Archives: March 4, 2014

The European Union Reacts to the Crisis in Ukraine

Summary

(PETER KLAUNZER/AFP/Getty Images)
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks to journalists in Switzerland on March 4 after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The European Union is unlikely to approve substantial sanctions against Russia because it would go against the economic interests of most of its members. There will be a period of cold relations between EU members and Russia, but eventually EU members will return to their previous strategies of seeking a pragmatic relationship with Moscow.

The crisis in Ukraine is having political repercussions for most members of the European Union. In the west, countries such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom are trying to strike a balance between criticizing Russia’s actions in Crimea and ensuring that their economic links with Moscow are unaffected. The crisis is reminding countries in Central and Eastern Europe such as Poland and Lithuania that their alliances with the European Union and NATO have clear limitations, since both organizations have few options to contain Russia. Finally, countries that recently sought closer ties with Moscow, including Hungary and the Czech Republic, are struggling to define their position in the conflict.

Ukraine and the ‘Little Cold War’

March 4, 2014 – 03:09

Stratfor

Editor’s Note: In place of George Friedman’s regular Geopolitical Weekly, this column is derived from two chapters of Friedman’s 2009 book, The Next 100 Years. We are running this abstract of the chapters that focused on Eastern Europe and Russia because the forecast — written in 2008 — is prescient in its anticipation of events unfolding today in Russia, Ukraine and Crimea.

By George Friedman

We must consider the future of Eurasia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Since 1991, the region has fragmented and decayed. The successor state to the Soviet Union, Russia, is emerging from this period with renewed self-confidence. Yet Russia is also in an untenable geopolitical position. Unless Russia exerts itself to create a sphere of influence, the Russian Federation could itself fragment.

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