Last month, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Kiev’s Independence Square to protest against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of the E.U. and turn towards Russia. Multiple issues are at stake in Ukraine’s seemingly simple—East or West?—decision. For protestors, Yanukovych’s embrace of Russia symbolizes the unfulfilled democratic potential of the 2004 Orange Revolution. But Ukraine is also teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and dependent on Russian energy, and Moscow offered Kiev supposedly unconditioned financial inducements that the E.U. and U.S. would not. Meanwhile, by moving Iskender missiles close to Poland, Russia has made clear that it views E.U. expansion efforts as a national security risk.
The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) hosted a discussion on how these issues are interacting to drive events in Ukraine, how the U.S. and E.U. should react and what the implications will be for E.U. and U.S. interests in the longer-term.
Amb. Paula Dobriansky
Former Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs
Senior Advisor, BPC
Amb. Ryszard Schnepf
Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the United States
Amb. Steven Pifer
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine
Director, Brookings Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative
Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Ukraine to the United States
National Press Club
Former USIA Foreign Service Officer