Shaun Walker writes: Kiev was far from the only capital city in which the ruling elite reacted with alarm to the election of Donald Trump, but the Ukrainian government has more reason than most to fear the new US administration.
The US president-elect made a number of positive comments about the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, during the campaign, and even suggested he might consider recognising Crimea, the territory annexed by Russia from Ukraine two years ago, as part of Russia. There has been talk of a “big deal” between Trump and Putin over Syria, which some have suggested could see Ukraine thrown under the bus.
“Everybody was tearing their hair and running around like crazies,” said Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, of the first days after Trump’s election victory.
While the current US administration has stopped short of supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons to fight Russian intervention in the east of the country, it has been a strong supporter of Ukraine with financial aid, and has slapped sanctions on Russia in protest at its actions. With Trump in the White House, amid suggestions that Russian hacking may have been employed to help his cause during the campaign, many in Kiev fear they could be abandoned.
“It’s what everyone is talking about,” said a European diplomat based in Kiev. “It’s a pretty disturbing time for Ukraine.” Michael McFaul, formerly the US ambassador to Russia, declared when Trump was confirmed the winner of the election that Ukraine was “the biggest loser in the world tonight”. [Continue reading…]