Zbigniew Brzezinski had some thoughts in Foreign Affairs. In 1994.
Insurance is needed against the possibility, one might even argue the probability, that the weight of history will not soon permit Russia to stabilize as a democracy, and that the single-minded cultivation of a partnership with Russia, while downgrading other interests, will simply accelerate the reemergence of an ominously familiar imperial challenge to Europe’s security….
The crucial issue here, one that might well come to a dramatic head in the course of 1994, is the future stability and independence of Ukraine. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire. American policymakers must face the fact that Ukraine is on the brink of disaster: the economy is in a free-fall, while Crimea is on the verge of a Russia-abetted ethnic explosion. Either crisis might be exploited to promote the breakup or the reintegration of Ukraine in a larger Moscow-dominated framework. It is urgent and essential that the United States convince the Ukrainian government, through the promise of substantial economic assistance, to adopt long-delayed and badly needed economic reforms. At the same time, American political assurances for Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity should be forthcoming.
Let’s see, now. Russia already has occupied Crimea, and it’s investing eastern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government has been trying to mend its ways and to join with, and learn from, the West, via its nascent alignment with the EU and its desire to join NATO.