In 2014 Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation following a local referendum which stirred harsh reactions throughout the world. Although Russia claims that the referendum was legitimate, the authorities in Kiev recently announced that they would commence a series of diplomatic endeavours in order to retrieve the lost territory.

Following the annexation and also the involvement in the civil war in Eastern Ukraine, Russia was severely sanctioned by her economic partners. Even so, Russia’s stand, as announced by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, was that renouncing the Crimean Peninsula was out of the question.

From a diplomatic point of view, the relation between Russia and Ukraine has been intense ever since the 1900's. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, numerous nuclear warheads remained on the territory of Ukraine. Despite Kiev’s desideratum to keep them, the Budapest Memorandum was signed in 1994 by Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Ukraine then missed the opportunity to become a sudden nuclear power, which would have certainly had an enormous influence on the balance of power in Europe.

By that treaty, Ukraine renounced its nuclear weapons in exchange for the assurance that its borders of that time would be respected. Those borders also included Crimea. For this reason, many have stated that through the controversial referendum in 2014 Russia had found a method to violate the provisions of the agreement.

Crimea is an extremely important strategic point in the geopolitical configuration of Eastern Europe. An impressive Russian naval fleet is stationed at the Sevastopol Port in the Black Sea.

The advantage of controlling the Black Sea has always represented a strategic priority for the Kremlin government.

A weakening of Moscow’s position in the Black Sea appears unlikely in the near future. All the more as the crisis in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iraq, persists. Although it stood as a highly suspicious achievement, the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia may ensure an unexpected political balance in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East.

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