James W. Peterson
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The Ukrainian crisis to the center of the stage in 2014 and after
A game-changing earthquake in the relationship
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Rejection of assistance from the European Union (EU) and reliance instead on increased Russian connections, by the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych led to the 2014 crisis in Ukraine. As a result, the Russian ethnic group that held majority status in the Crimean Republic pushed for a referendum that led to its detachment from Ukraine and attachment to Russia. Russia held continuing military exercises along its border with Ukraine, and that activity fed the instability in the eastern border region of Ukraine. Western responses included a range of steps that entailed both diplomatic and military dimensions. Diplomatic contacts centered on two four-party Minsk Summits that resulted in an agreement called the Minsk Protocol. NATO led the military response that included relocation of western troops from southern Europe to the jeopardized area of northeast Europe. In addition, NATO also created a Spearhead Force of 5,000 troops that could quickly move into any threatened area in the future. Finally, western nations imposed economic sanctions on Russian personnel and institutions in an effort to bring about changed policies.

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