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U.S.-Russia Competition in Ukraine in the ‘90s

This moment is one of four in a series about Russia, Ukraine, and U.S. relations in a world of post-Ukrainian independence. The series, “From 1991 to 2022: Russia, U.S., and Ukraine Relations,” explores how the post-Soviet Union era presented unique challenges to each nation’s foreign policy. The reignited tensions between Russia and Ukraine pose important questions about how the nations’ histories inform the conflict today. The four moments in the series— U.S.-Russia Competition in Ukraine in the ‘90s, Russia-Ukraine Tensions, Ukrainian Nationalism in an Independence Era, and Beginning a U.S.-Ukraine Relationship —seek to shed light on the 2022 conflict between Russia and Ukraine by examining its history.

Reagan and Dubinin at the Soviet Embassy, 1998, Pete Souza | The White House
Reagan and Dubinin at the Soviet Embassy, 1998, Pete Souza | The White House

Recent events in Ukraine have made it more than obvious that Russia is changing its foreign policy footing, seeking expansion and world influence once again. However, first-person oral history evidence indicates that this is a process that began almost as soon as the collapse of the Soviet Union. From 1993 to 1998, William Green Miller was the United States Ambassador to Ukraine, serving through numerous challenges, including nuclear disarmament, after a long and storied career. In this “Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History,” we see U.S., Russian, and Ukrainian grand strategy collide even as Ambassador Miller walks the tightrope of keeping close personal relationships with geopolitical adversaries. Read more

Russia–Ukraine Tensions

This moment is one of four in a series about Russia, Ukraine, and U.S. relations in a world of post-Ukrainian independence. The series, “From 1991 to 2022: Russia, U.S., and Ukraine Relations,” explores how the post-Soviet Union era presented unique challenges to each nation’s foreign policy.

Leonid Kravchuk, The First President of Ukraine | Wikimedia
Leonid Kravchuk, The First President of Ukraine | Wikimedia

The reignited tensions between Russia and Ukraine pose important questions about how the nations’ histories inform the conflict today. The four moments in the series— U.S.-Russia Competition in Ukraine in the ‘90s, Russia-Ukraine Tensions, Ukrainian Nationalism in an Independence Era, and Beginning a U.S.-Ukraine Relationship—seek to shed light on the 2022 conflict between Russia and Ukraine by examining its history.

The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine might appear relatively sudden and confusing. The unprovoked Russian aggression certainly brings about more questions than answers, but disagreements between the two nations have been setting the stage for decades. National identity, territorial integrity, Soviet-era legacies—each of these themes presented a unique challenge for Ukraine-Russia relations in the aftermath of Ukrainian independence. Read more

Beginning a U.S.-Ukraine Relationship

This “Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History” is one of four in a series about Russia, Ukraine, and U.S. relations in a world of post-Ukrainian independence. The series, “From 1991 to 2022: Russia, U.S., and Ukraine Relations,” explores how the post-Soviet Union era presented unique challenges to each nation’s foreign policy. The reignited tensions between Russia and Ukraine pose important questions about how the nations’ histories inform the conflict today. The four moments in the series— U.S.–Russia Competition in Ukraine in the ‘90s, Russia-Ukraine Tensions, Ukrainian Nationalism in an Independence Era, and Beginning a U.S.-Ukraine Relationship—seek to shed light on the 2022 conflict between Russia and Ukraine by examining its history.

Protest against war in Ukraine  | Depositphotos
Protest against war in Ukraine | Depositphotos

Since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, various voices have called for the United States to support Ukraine against Russia. The U.S. has imposed sanctions and limited trade with Russia while providing weapons and security assistance to Ukraine. However, some believe the U.S. needs to do more. The U.S. has maintained its position, however, of not intervening militarily except to protect NATO allies. These events and decisions reflect the complex relationship between the United States and Ukraine. Evidence from ADST’s oral history collection suggests this has been true since the onset of the relationship when Ukraine gained its independence following the fall of the Soviet Union. Read more

Ukrainian Nationalism in an Independence Era

This “Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History” is one of four in a series about Russia, Ukraine, and U.S. relations in a world of post-Ukrainian independence. The series, “From 1991 to 2022: Russia, U.S., and Ukraine Relations,” explores how the post-Soviet Union era presented unique challenges to each nation’s foreign policy. The reignited tensions between Russia and Ukraine pose important questions about how the nations’ histories inform the conflict today. The four moments in the series—U.S.–Russia Competition in Ukraine in the ‘90s, Russia-Ukraine Tensions, Ukrainian Nationalism in an Independence Era, and Beginning a U.S.-Ukraine Relationship—seek to shed light on the 2022 conflict between Russia and Ukraine by examining its history.

Taras Shevchenko Memorial in Washington, DC | Wikimedia
Taras Shevchenko Memorial in Washington, DC | Wikimedia

After breaking away from the Soviet Union, Ukraine had to assert its national identity as separate and strong enough to sustain a new nation. Between Russian frustration at Ukrainian independence, an uncertain post-Cold War era, and skepticism of potential allies, Ukrainian leaders had a plethora of concerns to factor into their new foreign policy strategy. To be successful as an independent nation, Ukrainians needed to affirm their collective historical, cultural, and national identities—both on the ground and in their policy. Read more