US Efforts to Drive a Wedge Between Ukraine and Russia
After its separation from Russia, Ukraine entered a period of continuous economic decline. When the crash of 2008 hit, the country was pushed to the brink of the abyss and default. Geopolitically, Ukraine is a pivot country, however. Hence the Americans, influenced by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, believed they should do everything in their power to prevent the country from returning to Russia’s sphere of influence, which is why Bill Clinton proposed to bring the country into NATO’s framework in the 1990s. This worsened relations with Russia and brought the issue of the ownership of the Crimean peninsula to a head. Russia revoked the transfer to Ukraine, while Ukraine tried to claim ownership of the Sevastopol naval base. But Ukraine was in no position to have a face-off with Russia. The issue of the Crimean peninsula was entangled with subsidized gas supplies and the military structure on its territory. President Leonid Kučma backed off from the conflict, therefore, and reached a deal with Russia on the Crimean issue. The Americans, however, continued their efforts to drive a wedge between Ukraine and Russia.