Kiev is building up its forces and warning that it could fight back in a new standoff, while Moscow is telling the West to stay out of the conflict.
The long-resistant area has been relatively calm recently, but the Chechen president's proposed land swaps threaten to rattle the region's stability.
For 2019, Stratfor has forecast the continuation of problems between Russia and the West, a marriage of convenience between Moscow and China and more. But what do Russians think about all of this? We set off to find out.
Kiev wants to remind the world of the Kremlin's military aggressiveness and boost the pressure even more on Moscow. But domestic politics could also be playing a part in Ukraine's maritime foray.
From Eastern Europe to the Caucasus and Central Asia, the areas along Russia's periphery will be central to the battle for influence between Washington and Moscow.
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton is visiting the region with an eye to obtaining regional support for the United States' moves against Moscow and Tehran.
The Russian branch has broken with church leaders in Istanbul after the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was granted independence from the Moscow Patriarchate.
The European Union and Russia have battled for influence over the country for a decade. An upcoming vote could reorient the country more firmly toward Moscow.