British Russian Interests


Le 21 novembre 2013, Kiev renonce à un accord d’association avec l’Union européenne. C’est le point de départ d’une crise qui tiraille le pays entre pro-européens et pro-russes. L’Ukraine devient alors un enjeu dans la lutte d’influence entre l’UE et les Etats-Unis d’une part, et la Russie d’autre part. Qu’en est-il du rôle particulier de la Grande-Bretagne dans ce conflit ?


They are different elements that seem to reveal the distinctive role of the UK. The first element is that it played an important role in the good relations between Ukraine and Russia. Indeed, Great Britain was one of the countries which signed the Budapest Memorandum on securities assurances in 1994. Furthermore Great Britain has common interests with Russia.

Today, with the situation in Ukraine, the European Union considers sanctioning Russia in order to limit Russian actions in Ukraine. The UK has played an ambiguous part in this policy. On the one hand, the British government claims that a policy for Russia has to be made resolutely. An agreement between Russia and the EU is projected and the UK tries to implement it. This agreement aims to disarm Russian troops, to evacuate buildings. But on the other hand, the UK is trying to limit sanctions against Russia. Indeed, the UK and Russia have common economic interests. Many Russian companies are associated to the City of London and if there are sanctions against Russia, it may threaten UK interests. Foreign Secretary William Hague denies this ambiguity, even if a compromising document was photographed. The document says that Great Britain should not be aggresive towards Russia.

Moreover, the UK, in particular Great Britain, has to think about how it has to picture its position towards Ukraine. Indeed Great Britain is confronted with the same problemsas Ukraine: the rise of pro-independence militants. Great Britain would prefer to show that it is against Ukrainian indepentists since it is against independentist movements in the UK as in Scotland with Alex Salmond or with UKIP. It would be dangerous to support Crimea’s independence and, at the same time, reject Scottish independence. Indeed, Great Britain does not regard Crimea’s referendum (which took place in March) as legitimate.




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