The EU has occasionally looked naïve during the Ukraine crisis—but that's allby Charles Grant / May 26, 2016 / Leave a comment
Many of those demanding Brexit blame the EU for blundering into Ukraine and setting off a chain reaction that led to bloody civil war. They accuse EU leaders of imperial over-reach in trying to drag Ukraine into an association agreement. Thus Boris Johnson declared on 9th May: “If you want an example of EU foreign policy making on the hoof, and the EU’s pretensions to be running a defence policy, that have caused real trouble, then look at what has happened in Ukraine.”
The Russians never liked the EU’s “eastern partnership”—launched in 2008, and designed to thicken the ties between Brussels and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. They viewed the partnership, together with the association agreements and trade agreements it entailed, as a scheme to undermine their sway in Eastern Europe. There was some truth in that, but the EU cannot be held responsible for Russia’s illegal and violent response to events in Ukraine.