Is Russia about to checkmate US in Europe?

While we were grabbing drinks at a bar near Capitol Hill, a Ukrainian friend of mine living in Washington during the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 ruefully quipped to me, “Russia will devour Ukraine no matter what the West says. It’s just a question of how long it’ll take.”

For Russia, Ukraine is a vital component of its defensive perimeter. For the United States, Ukraine is an abstract idea. It is a symbol of democratic resistance to authoritarianism, a lucrative addition to the ailing European Union, and a potential new base to place NATO military assets nearer to an increasingly assertive Russia. 

Also read: Arc of encirclement appearing around Russia

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