Russia's energy policies and Ukraine's NATO candidacy
Imblum, Mark A.
Looney, Robert E.
Yost, David S.
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NATO enlargement and the European Union's growing dependence on external energy supplies controlled by Russia have simultaneously developed into crucial security issues in Europe. The emerging interaction between Alliance enlargement and energy policies may yet affect Ukraine's future relationship with NATO as well as Russia and even determine which direction NATO takes regarding Ukraine's candidacy for membership. As the leading natural gas exporter with the largest proven gas reserves in the world, Russia provides more natural gas to the European Union than any other supplier. Eighty percent of Russian-controlled gas (from Central Asian countries as well as Russia) transits Ukraine for Europe, amplifying Ukraine's geostrategic significance. Russia and several West European members of NATO continue to augment their economic interdependence through strategic and lucrative natural gas agreements. The amalgamation of key NATO European states' strong dependency on Russian natural gas and Ukraine's potential NATO membership makes Kyiv's political and strategic orientation a relevant and contemporary question for the United States and its NATO Allies. Russian-European energy interdependence could lead to a rift within the Alliance regarding Ukraine's candidacy for NATO membership, but cooperative solutions may yet be achieved.
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