Ukraine occupies a highly sensitive position between Russia and the Nato-member states because it is currently the main buffer state between them and also occupies more than half the extent of the eastern gateway to Europe, via which threats to Europe have passed throughout history. The continuation of European and Nato actions to incorporate and form partnerships with other states aims to curtail Russian influence in this region and reinforce control over it. Russia, deeply disturbed at the encroachment of Western influence to its wider immediate neighborhood, cannot abandon Ukraine to become part of the West's security and economic order. For, in addition to Russian nationalist feeling for Ukraine, it is part of its "special interest zone" and the final strategic stronghold buffering it from the West and its allies. The global tensions caused by the Ukraine crisis and the threat it poses to relations between two major global actors call for a discussion over the wider context to Ukraine's place in Western and Russian strategic thinking.