Key foreign policy events of 2014

1. The year 2014 was marked by a build-up of elements of instability and an increase in outbreaks of crises in international relations, which are currently transitioning to a new multi-polar world order. This process was accompanied by a series of full-blown regional conflicts, and an increase in competition in all areas, including socioeconomic development models and moral values. There was a clear contradiction between the need to pursue actions based on genuinely collective partnership on the international arena in order to develop joint responses to common global challenges and threats, and the desire of a number of states to dominate, their attempts to push through their own interests without taking into account the interests of other participants in international cooperation.

2. The Ukrainian crisis was the pinnacle event of such policy. It reflected major system-wide problems in the Euro-Atlantic area associated with the policy of Western countries, pursued during the last 25 years, aimed at strengthening their own security without taking into account Russia’s interests, and at ongoing eastward expansion of the geopolitical space under their control, which showed in successive waves of NATO enlargement contrary to the assurances issued at the highest level. The historic opportunity to form a system of equal and indivisible security in the Euro-Atlantic area was squandered.
The United States and the EU have openly supported the anti-constitutional coup in Kiev and the actions of the nationalist forces, that came to power there, aimed at armed suppression and socioeconomic strangulation of southeastern Ukraine. This came at the cost of thousands of dead and wounded, hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons and the destruction of social and economic infrastructure.
In these circumstances, Russia has undertaken vigorous efforts to promote an early ceasefire, achieve lasting truce and adopt policies to resolve the drawn-out internal Ukrainian crisis. The result was the achievement of the Minsk agreements, which set forth priority steps to de-escalate the conflict.
The attempts to cast Russia as responsible for the Ukraine events, the unilateral sanctions imposed on it and an open information war waged by a number of Western countries are not helpful in resolving the situation. To overcome the deadlock, all stakeholders need to help Ukraine to survive this difficult period in its history, to achieve lasting peace and national reconciliation and to ensure a state system in which all Ukrainians would feel comfortable, safe and dignified.

3. The political crisis in Ukraine, which in February culminated in an armed coup carried out by units of the nationalist forces in Kiev, was sharply rejected by many Ukrainian regions. In March, a referendum was held in Crimea, where its residents almost unanimously expressed their desire to become part of Russia. According to the referendum, which was held in full compliance with international law, the legitimate Crimean parliament declared the independence of the Republic of Crimea and issued a request to become part of the Russian Federation. The reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia was an act of restoration of historical justice and is fully in line with the will of the people.

4. The United States initiated the deterioration of relations with Russia and has been consistently supportive of increasing the sanction pressure on it. The Obama administration embarked on a path of curtailing bilateral ties and imposed sanctions on several Russian individuals and corporations.
On 18 December, the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 was approved, which added even more negativity to Russian-American relations. We firmly believed that bilateral relations could get back on track of stability if Washington is willing to engage in a dialogue on genuine equality and mutual respect of interests. We continued to support Russian-US contacts at the high and highest levels on the situation in Ukraine, the Syrian crisis, the Iranian nuclear programme and the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.
At its summit in Wales on 4-5 September, NATO approved the military build-up policy aimed at strengthening its military presence near the Russian border. For its part, in our contacts with the key NATO members, we have consistently explained the negative effects and the potential risks involved in changing the configuration of forces in Europe. We stressed that this will not only lead to further fragmentation of the security space, but will also work against joint efforts of the states in fighting real threats and challenges. More...