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Integration of Ukraine into NATO and its geopolitical implications

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2019
Önder, Sevsu.
This thesis aims to analyze NATO integration process of Ukraine with its geopolitical causes and consequences in the context of annexation of Crimea and military conflict in Eastern Ukraine. This thesis claims that Ukraine’s NATO integration is driven by several geopolitical concerns of actors involved in the process and has serious geopolitical consequences for the parties. Accordingly, Ukraine’s NATO integration is a product of the US geopolitical interests identified over Eurasian region in order to take the lead in the global geopolitical struggle. However, annexation of Crimea and military conflict in Eastern Ukraine are the direct consequences of Ukraine’s NATO integration and represents the contradiction of Ukraine’s integration goal with Russian geopolitical interests.From the perspective of Ukraine, NATO integration is simply a civilizational choice between Russia and the West to leave Russian geopolitical axis. This thesis aims to bring a multi-faceted approach covering geopolitical priorities of Ukraine, Russia and US-led NATO. In order to reflect this versatility study focuses on the NATO’s post-Cold War geopolitics, Ukraine’s NATO integration process and internal and external geopolitical dynamics affecting this process, and Russia’s influence on the integration process as a result of its geopolitical interests over Eurasia. This thesis uses documentary research method involving review of the official documents. Thus, it is aimed to reflect how the geopolitics as a legitimization practice is shaped by the key actors in the domestic and foreign policy environment.