There is a saying that epitomizes precarious conditions: "caught between a rock and a hard place". But what best categorizes the precarious security of non-NATO and non-European Union(EU) ex-soviet states, is perhaps: a suspension between the sharp edge of a sickle and the cushion of a continental mat. This must be the rapid pulse-rate security concerns of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.
As European nations from the Nordics states, to the Baltic states, to Eastern and to Central Europe and stretching to Western Europe, have worried over security agitations presented by Vladimir Putin's Russia, many states - some former soviet republics, have found assured security under NATO's umbrella. The Nordic states have reaffirmed their solidarity with each other and they have sought to strengthen cooperation with the Baltics as a deterrent to external agitations. Others have found economic prospects and development in membership in the EU.
Yet, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova - non-NATO and non-EU states, continue to hang in the balance, in suspension as to the exact path to their economic and security futures while subjected to possible Russian aggression.
And yesterday's meeting of the EU Eastern Partnership in Riga, Latvia, offered no new solace to the former soviet republics - it raised some concerns for those nations.
While Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko trumpeted a voice of hope, French President Francois Hollande said very little to qualm the concerns of Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. Poroshenko said he was satisfied by the "very strong solidarity" the EU leaders have shown, Reuters reported.
Last year, the EU signed trade pacts with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova that amounted to a positive hope of the trio being offered membership in the EU someday.
However, French President Hollande, stifled the hopes of the former soviet republics yesterday in Riga when he announced: "Association agreements do not in any way make membership a foregone conclusion." He claimed that "more pressure" should be placed upon Russia to bolster the ceasefire in Ukraine and that the EU must engage Russia despite the conflict in Ukraine.
But Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, according to Reuters, flatly accused the EU of presenting ex-soviet republics with a "false choice" that amounts to "Who are you with, the West of Russia?"
Thus, non-NATO and non-EU ex-soviet republic states in Eastern and Central Europe, remain stuck in the balance between full western association and vulnerable to Russian meddling without a western security pact.
Therefore, western nations - as the stalwarts of democracy and of freedom, must do whatever is necessary to assure the security and the sovereignty of free states in spite of any grumblings of encroaching upon a dead sphere of Russian influence.