Relationships Between Ukraine and the West


The end of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought many difficult challenges for Ukraine and relations with Russia. Among them were the division of the Black Sea Fleet and Soviet nuclear weapons systems in the country. In addition, the country was also facing massive energy debts and tensions with Russia. These developments were a stumbling block to normalization of relations between the two countries. However, there were signs of hope as Ukrainian leaders sought closer relations with Western nations.

Although Ukraine is closely aligned with the European Union, many Ukrainians view the United States as its primary security partner. In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, the United States agreed to recognize and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty while refraining from using force against it. In addition, many Ukrainians recognize the importance of the United States in formulating Western policies toward Ukraine. Because of this, the U.S. government has taken a more strategic approach to this country than do most European countries.

Despite this, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been able to use the recent tragedy to justify a war in Ukraine. In the past two years, Ukraine has experienced unrest and violence. In April 2014, the Ukrainian military launched an operation to take out pro-Russian demonstrators in Donetsk. As a result, the Ukraine military has been unable to stop the violence. The government’s goal of preventing a civil war has been compromised.

While Ukraine shares a lot with Russia and Belarus, it has its own distinct identity. Ukraine has always been a contested region, although it is not part of Russia. While tensions with Russia continue, Ukraine is easily accessible by plane, train, and bus from most European nations. Ukraine has 20 airports, serving flights from all over Europe. And with its rich soil, the country’s citizens are deeply religious. This is a significant problem for Kyiv.

In the early twentieth century, the Soviet Union conquered two-thirds of the Ukrainian land. During Stalin’s collectivisation campaign, seven million Ukrainian peasants died. In the second world war, the Soviets occupied west Ukrainian lands. The Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded in 1986, causing a massive nuclear disaster. Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. In 2004, the Orange Revolution forced a pro-European government to take office. Eventually, the Maidan Revolution overthrew this pro-Kreminate government.

In 1991, Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union and elected Leonid Kravchuk as its first president. The country also adopted a new currency called the hryvnia. The hryvnia became the official currency. In 2010, Ukraine held its presidential election. Yanukovych was accused of rigging the election and even poisoning his opponent. After a rerun, Yushchenko won.

Women in Ukraine face numerous restrictions. From censorship in the east to the incarceration of Alexei Navalny, women are being discriminated against and silenced. The Ukrainian government has blocked major Russian TV stations and censors the country’s popular Russian websites and social networks. The media landscape is dominated by television and the leading commercial networks. A number of newspapers publish Ukrainian and Russian-language editions. A recent poll shows that the number of women in Ukraine is rising dramatically.