Prime Minister Putin of Russia has been sending mixed signals to the Ukraine regarding his views about that nation. Several months ago, while in a conversation with President Bush, the Russian leader was overheard saying, “You understand George, Ukraine isn’t even a state! What is Ukraine? One part of its territory is in Eastern europe, and the other party, the significant portion was a gift from us.” On the other hand, he was recently said his nation respects the boundaries of Ukraine, including the disputed area of the Crimea which Khrushchev turned over to the Ukraine in the fifties. “Russia has recognized the present day borders of Ukraine long ago” he said in an interview with a German radio station.
A major issue between Russia and the Ukraine is fear on the part of Russian leaders that a Ukraine which is a member of NATO could pose a military threat to its security. Perhaps, it is time to put aside talk of NATO membership and work toward creating a sense of stability and security for all nations of eastern Europe.