The Obama administration has been a strong advocate of Ukraine a relationship many dread will evaporate once Trump enters the White House
Kiev was far from the only capital city in which the ruling upper-class reacted with alarm to the election of Donald Trump, but the Ukrainian government has more reason than most to dread the new US administration.
The US president-elect made a number of positive remarks 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 Ukraines deputy foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, of the first days after Trumps election victory.
While the current US administration has stopped short of furnishing Ukraine with lethal weapons to fight Russian intervention in the east of the country, it has been a strong advocate 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.
Its what everyone is talking about, said a European envoy based in Kiev. Its a pretty disturbing period for Ukraine. Michael McFaul, formerly the US ambassador to Russia, declared when Trump was corroborated the win of the election that Ukraine was the biggest loser in the world tonight.
Ukrainian officials constructed no secret of their predilection for Hillary Clinton during the campaign. At one point, events in Kiev even had a direct bearing on the race, as Trumps controversial campaign chief Paul Manafort resigned after allegations surfaced in Ukraine he had received dubious cash payments as part of his work for President Viktor Yanukovych, deposed in the 2014 Maidan revolution.
Mikheil Saakashvili, the former chairwoman of Georgia who also served as a regional governor in Ukraine, hosted Trump in the country on numerous occasions. He said that he believed the president-elect was fond of Putins macho-man image rather than on board with Russias strategic objectives in Ukraine.
We spoke a lot and I never thought he had an enthusiastic approach towards Russia, Saakashvili said. I never saw any adulation or special respect for Russia; I thought he was a little bit seeming down on them. However, he was saying things about Putin because he thinks Putin is successful.
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