• The Washington Post

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Russia’s success in getting Ukraine to pull back at the last minute from signing an agreement with the European Union obscures a deeper trend: Moscow’s relations with its neighbors have been on a downward slope for several years, and they show no signs of improving.

Ties with EU members Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Lithuania have experienced sharp strains since Vladimir Putin returned to the Russian presidency in 2012. The deterioration is evident closer to home despite Putin’s considerable effort to restore Russian influence in the former Soviet space.

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