Throughout the conflict in Ukraine, Poland has tried to use competition between Russia and the West to advance its own interests, which include pulling Ukraine further into the Western camp and pushing for stronger NATO commitment to bolstering Poland against Russia. However, Poland will be limited in its ability to meet its objectives, especially because the next few months will likely see a de-escalation of the stand-off in Ukraine. For its part, Warsaw will continue to pursue regional cooperation initiatives to mitigate the threat from Moscow.
"It's a historic moment," was the reaction when Kiev and Brussels ratified the Ukrainian-EU Association Agreement on Tuesday. However, celebration might be somewhat premature, since Moscow, eager to keep Ukraine within its own sphere of influence and away from the EU, has won significant concessions.
Since the start of this year, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea and pushed for Ukraine’s “federalization.” The severe international concern caused by these actions was further compounded last month (August 2014) by Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s statement in Yalta that after Moscow subdues Ukraine, it will move against other post-Soviet countries in order to rebuild the Russian Empire. Not surprisingly, many countries in the region have thus been forced to consider where the Kremlin might move next and what means it might employ against them—from demands for “federalization” to open aggression.
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