Ukraine and the Caspian

An Opportunity for the United States

by Olga Oliker

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The United States has said that the Caspian region, and the development of its energy resources, is a key national security interest. But current options for Caspian oil transport are beset with political and logistical problems. At the same time, Russia's increasing stranglehold over Ukraine's energy imports bodes ill for that nation's ability to maintain its hard-won sovereignty--and increases the risk that it will call on the United States and NATO for assistance. The author examines the various options for Caspian oil export and argues that the United States should support a pipeline route through Ukraine to Europe. This policy would enable Washington to advance two key policy goals: help provide a more secure and reliable route for the oil and simultaneously bolster the political and economic independence of Ukraine.

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