Heightening Tensions In Ukraine | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Heightening Tensions In Ukraine

Shifting strategic priorities in the United States and Europe are leading Kyiv—not Moscow—to heighten tensions in Eastern Europe. Following the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and the ensuing separatist conflict in Ukraine’s eastern oblasts, the country began taking significant steps to divest itself of its economic reliance on Russia and politically reorient towards Europe. For its part, the latter viewed facilitating Ukrainian integration into various transatlantic frameworks as a net benefit.

As geopolitical circumstances have changed, however, Western enthusiasm towards Ukraine has started to wane. This trend is troublesome for Kyiv, as the country has become increasingly reliant on presenting itself as the victimized eastern edge of Europe. In an attempt to counter its diminishing level of priority, it has begun to ratchet up its hostile rhetoric as well as escalatory behavior in the region.

Ukraine initially became a central focus of Western attention for several reasons. Recall the immediate factor that precipitated the 2013-14 Euromaidan uprising: Then-Ukrainian President Victor Yankovych abruptly decided to scrap an Association Agreement with Brussels that would have more closely linked his country with the E.U., and instead opted for greater integration in the Moscow-directed Eurasian Economic Union.