In this Brief, Kristi Raik explores the profound changes in the EU’s and NATO’s Russia strategy following the invasion of Ukraine. Russia is now approached as an adversary and existential threat not just to Ukraine, but to European and international rules-based security order. She highlights two major factors – enhancing Ukraine’s and NATO’s defence vis à vis Russia and isolating the Russian economy from the West – as key elements of an emerging new Western strategy.
First, military force is now seen as an essential element in containing and pushing back Russian aggression. A considerable increase of NATO’s presence on its eastern front and extensive military aid to Ukraine both indicate a new approach. The previously widely held view that European security was improved by constraining Western military presence and involvement in Russia’s neighbourhood has proved untenable.
Second, the EU and more broadly the West is reassessing its economic ties with Russia. The post-Cold War Western belief in positive economic interdependence as a tool to promote not just economic development and liberalisation, but also the spread of democracy and peace, is broken. The EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels has turned into a geopolitical vulnerability that the Union is gradually trying to diminish through sanctions.
Download and read: The Contours of a New Western Russia Strategy (PDF)