Concerns of Eastern Europe: Ukraine fears falling victim to Trump-Putin ‘grand bargain' - FT

09:59 Nov. 11, 2016

Ukraine fears falling victim to Trump-Putin ‘grand bargain' - FT

Traditional Russian wooden dolls called Matreska depicting from left, Russian president Vladimir Putin and US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are displayed in a shop in Moscow (AP photo)

Kyiv concerned US will cede ‘sphere of influence' to Moscow in effort to improve ties

As Donald Trump's election victory was confirmed, Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Moscow, was quick to identify where the consequences would be felt. "Biggest loser in the world tonight — Ukraine," he tweeted.

Mr Trump's triumph in the presidential contest is a shock for much of former communist eastern Europe. From Tallinn to Tbilisi, leaders fear that under his presidency the US will no longer play the role of supporter and protector against pressure from Moscow that it has for a quarter of a century.

Concerns are most acute in Ukraine, where the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 after Viktor Yanukovych, the Russian-leaning president, was ousted by street protests. Its conflict with pro-Russian separatists and Russian forces in eastern Ukraine is still simmering.

Read also Russians won't be happy with ‘wild card' Trump – analyst

Kyiv and some of its international supporters fear Mr Trump will seek a "grand bargain" with Vladimir Putin to improve US-Russian relations, sacrificing Ukraine in the process.

That could involve ceding a "sphere of influence" to Moscow, as the Russian president has implicitly demanded. Western capitals have resisted the demand as undermining the principle established since the fall of the Berlin Wall — and enshrined in the Paris Charter of 1990 — that countries have the right to choose their own policies and alliances.

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