Members' Research Service By / February 4, 2022

EU-Ukraine relations and the security situation in the country

Ukraine – which last year celebrated 30 years of independence – has, for a long time, been following a path to European integration.

@ Denis Rozhnovsky / Adobe Stock.

Written by Jakub Przetacznik with Linda Tothova.

Since the beginning of 2021, Ukraine has struggled with Russia’s attempts to further destabilise the country and intensify tensions in Europe’s east, including through repetitive military build-ups along Ukraine’s borders. Russia’s most recent threatening troop manoeuvres, together with its unsupportable security demands, met with a united response from Western countries, making it clear that a very high price will be paid if Russia attacks Ukraine. The EU and its institutions, including the European Parliament, have been clear in their response to Russia’s aggression on Ukrainian territory. The EU does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and regularly calls on Russia to de-escalate and withdraw its forces, and urges Moscow and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine to adhere to the ceasefire agreement. Currently the situation remains very volatile.

Relations between the European Union and Ukraine continue to be shaped by the 2014 Association Agreement, which includes the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. The long-term relationship between the EU and Ukraine covers a broad range of areas including trade, providing assistance to the country’s health sector, support for the country’s reform agenda, and support for the fight against hybrid attacks against Ukraine that have been perpetrated by Russia ever since Ukraine made its firm pro-European choice in 2014.

Russia decided to respond aggressively to the Revolution of Dignity – a revolution whose main aim was the signature of the Association Agreement – and immediately after the change of power in Ukraine in 2014 it annexed Crimea and moved to actively support Donbas separatists. Intensive fighting in Donbas in 2014 and early 2015 led to the Minsk agreements, but limited progress in implementing the agreements on the Russian side have led to the prolongation of Western sanctions against Russia. Russia continues its bullying policy towards Ukraine with a wide range of instruments, including disinformation, blackmail and cyber-attacks.

Read the complete briefing on ‘EU-Ukraine relations and the security situation in the country‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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