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Window on Eurasia: Moscow Wants Ukraine to Break with West

Staunton, March 23 – Even as Europe and the United States encourage the countries between Russia and the West to adopt a “both/and” approach to relations with the two, Moscow has signaled that these countries must make an “either/or” choice and is demanding that Ukraine break with the West as the price of good relations with the Russian Federation.

Such a demand reflects Moscow’s growing self-confidence that it can do so because of the difficulties many of these countries face and because of the West’s failure to embrace fully some of these states. But it means that in ways resembling the Cold War, Moscow is demanding that they isolate themselves from the West and subordinate themselves to Russia.

And consequently, while some diplomats and analysts may be inclined to play down this latest development and view Moscow’s latest demands as limited to oil and gas and to Ukraine, these demands and both the language in which they were delivered and the individual who delivered them reflect the re-emergence of a Russian approach that could re-divide the continent. 

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