What’s The History Behind U.S. Relations With Ukraine?

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Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe, behind Russia. Its history dates back centuries, marked by war, famine, invasions and deportations.

“It’s suffered from bad governance and also by domination by Russia and divisions within the country,” says Mary Curtin, diplomat-in-residence at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Ukraine was part of the former USSR, but it’s been independent of Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea, a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea. Since then, there’s been fighting in the eastern part of Ukraine.

“There’s been this undeclared war between Ukraine and Russia,” says Curtin. 

The U.S. has been giving Ukraine financial assistance and military training for years. Curtin believes there are two main reasons Ukraine has been so closely connected with the U.S. The first has to do with geography. Ukraine is situated between the east and west, and the U.S. wants to support a strong democracy there.

“There’s this concept that if Russia can get away with what it’s done in Ukraine, then it poses a threat to our allies who are in NATO,” says Curtin.

Read entire article at CBS Minnesota

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