From Crimea To Conflict: EU-Russia Standoff Fueled By Borders And Buildup – OpEd


In the period spanning from 2022 to 2024, the dynamic relationship between the European Union (EU) and Russia underwent a significant and convoluted evolution, mainly characterized by conflicts and territorial disagreements. It is crucial, in light of such a serious situation, that these matters be closely analyzed and that all of the parties affected thoroughly reflect upon the subsequent policy implications.

Russia’s 2014 acquisition of Crimea ignited intensifying hostility between the European Union and Russia, amplifying the amount of mutual suspicion while provoking increased militarization close to their mutual borders. In response, the EU enforced sanctions on select individuals and groups. These actions deepen the threat to the current world order and have a substantial chance of leading to outright conflict.

Moreover, long-lasting border disagreements have led to considerable disputes in the relationship between the EU and Russia. In tendered areas in Ukraine, the violence, death counts, and mass evictions from homes have fortified enmity between the two sides. The EU is very supportive of keeping Ukraine’s territorial nature unchanged, while Moscow has zero remorse for controlling virtually any state with military forces. However, with such clashing positions, the conflict will continue to happen.

To grasp the geopolitical setting of the European Union (EU) and Russia relationship requires a thorough investigation. Exploring multiple scales of the dispute, whether physical tensions or boundary complications, enables us to examine the implications of these practices on global and regional levels. To negotiate the multifarious nature of this situation, and contain its potential volatility, the extent of conflict resolution should be studied. Our goal, through a comprehensive analysis, will be to generate an inclusive and constructive dialogue that will defuse this conflict, while preserving the essential interests of both sides.

From 2022-24, military tensions and border disputes have been a consistent influence on EU-Russia relations. This current period is no different – both sides are generating risks of conflict. The EU loathes Russia’s actions close to its borders, deeming them provocative and destabilizing. From military exercises to airspace violations to increased naval patrols in the Baltic Sea region, Russia’s assertiveness corrodes trust and raises questions about its aims.

In return, the EU enforced measures aimed at bolstering the defense capabilities and unity of its member states. These measures concentrated on the increase in defense spending, improvement of coordination among the armed forces of member states, and the stationing of NATO forces in Eastern Europe. These measures aim to deter Russian aggression and offer protection and reassurance to EU member states in terms of their security. The presence of border disputes further complicates relationships between the EU and Russia, which are under significant strain. The reason that border disputes are such an important feature of the EU-Russia relationship is due to their effect on the region, as well as their emphasis on differing notions of sovereignty, self-determination, and territorial integrity.

A primary example of this argument is Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, which the EU doesn’t acknowledge and persistently denies. The aftereffects of this disagreement result in hostility as Russia retains control of Crimea despite the EU’s sanctions. Furthermore, border issues persist in countries such as Ukraine and Georgia. In Georgia, regions such as South Ossetia and Abkhazia are controlled by Russian-backed separatists while Georgia attempts to preserve these regions as part of its territory. A parallel situation ensues in Ukraine as separatist movements in Donetsk and Luhansk complicate border disputes.

Rising tensions not just between the EU and Russia, but within the Union itself, stem from these conflicts as member states aim to show solidarity with states undergoing turmoil. Employing a diplomatic strategy, therefore, becomes vital toward either dialogue or more strife. By not pursuing peaceful discussions, a lasting peace between the EU and Russia remains unattainable.

In conclusion, the present EU-Russia relationship consists of extreme tensions, especially due to border disputes. The EU’s stern position on Russia is based on its obligation to provide security and territorial integrity for its member states. The military tensions and escalations are mainly outcomes of Russia’s actions: the annexation of Crimea and the continuous support for separatist movements in Eastern Ukraine. It is not just a breach of international law, but also leading regional instability, which urges the diplomatic ways to settle these conflicts and lead them back into a favorable situation.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.


  • EU-Russia Relations, 1999-2015: From Courtship to Confrontation by Kees van den Bos Routledge.
  • The history of Russia-European Union relations by Richard Sakwa Taylor & Francis 
  • The different faces of power in European Union–Russia relations JSTOR
  • EU-Russia Relations in Crisis: Understanding Diverging Perceptions Routledge

Simon Hutagalung

Simon Hutagalung is a retired diplomat from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and received his master's degree in political science and comparative politics from the City University of New York. The opinions expressed in his articles are his own.

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