The year 1997 might not necessarily be engraved in our collective memory as a moment of great historical shift. Some might remember U.S. President Bill Clinton’s second inauguration, or Great Britain handing back Hong Kong to China. But arguably for European geopolitics, 1997 was a year of enormous significance. That was when the foundations for Europe’s future security architecture were effectively laid. NATO not only extended an invitation to Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to join the Alliance, but also signed the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership with Ukraine, which established the NATO-Ukraine Commission to take cooperation forward. And Russia, for its part, signed the Russian-Ukrainian Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership, which includes the vital 2nd Article, where both neighbors agreed to “respect each other’s territorial integrity.” For a moment, the path of Ukraine and Eastern Europe seemed to be headed toward peace and stability, guaranteed by the greater regional powers.