The last two decades have witnessed a tectonic upheaval in the international political milieu. In Eastern Europe, the collapse of the Soviet Union meant the sudden emergence of newly independent states and required a quick and proper reaction to the changing geopolitical context. Such is the challenge confronting Russia and the European Union (EU), the two major players in the region. In times of economic crisis and political uncertainty, both parties seek to achieve their goals and protect their interests in the shared vicinity by expanding cooperation with their neighbors. However, each side is conducting its actions in a different fashion, according to its own strategic plans. The pressing issue coming out of this situation is whether it is possible to label this dual struggle for broader political clout a new strategic competition. Or it is just an inevitable process of restructuring the regional political environment – a process that is still incomplete after the dissolution of the Soviet Union? Thus, this essay examines the practical nature and the ideological background of both the EU and Russian approaches and policies towards the common proximity of the former Soviet republics.

The essay analyses the role of NATO in the post Cold War period by conducting a comparison of the cases of NATO’s operations in Kosovo and Libya. The article reveals the enhanced weight of the Alliance member states and the European countries’ active role in protecting their regional interests and also show how the state interests of the USA and Russia played a significant role in the two cases. This analysis of the behavioral patterns of the former Cold War adversaries could provide a useful interpretation and perhaps an explanation of the current events in Ukraine. The pursuit of power continues to dominate the international relations arena as the confrontation between the USA and Russia is far from over.