The chairman of Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz, Andriy Kobolev, declared today that Ukraine will continue to buy natural gas exclusively from Europe in the near future. Just a few years ago, it would have been unimaginable for Ukraine to go through winter without buying gas from its eastern neighbor, Russia. In fact, as late as a year ago, any analysis of the relationship between Russia and Europe would have inevitably focused on pipeline infrastructure and pricing negotiations between Russian energy giant Gazprom and its European customers. Nevertheless, European Union policies promoting greater competition and connectivity in the energy sector, combined with falling world energy prices, have greatly reduced the role of energy in Eurasian geopolitics.
One of Russia’s strategic goals is to maintain influence in the border states of Central and Eastern Europe. Of these, the most important for Moscow are Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltics, which border Russia and have hist