- American business has interests in Ukraine
- Donald Trump is trying to avoid any appearance of favoring Russia
- The Trump administration’s strategy for the Donbas conflict has not crystalized yet, but it is not likely to abandon Kiev
It seemed reasonable to assume only a half of a year ago that relations between Washington and Ukraine would go south after Donald Trump’s election, and that the new president of the United States would have little interest in searching for ways to resolve the Donbas conflict. Among Mr. Trump’s entourage, the dominant view during the campaign was that Kiev favored his rival, Hillary Clinton. Observers were also convinced that the billionaire’s presidency would begin with a strong outreach to Moscow.
Several months after Mr. Trump’s inauguration, however, things look different. The new president, besieged with allegations that Moscow interfered with the U.S. elections to help him win, is trying to avoid any appearance of favoring Russia. For the first time since President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) there was not even a temporary warming in relations with Moscow after a new occupant moved into the White House. Also, from the president’s point of view, the Donbas conflict offers a handy opportunity to demonstrate that his administration is not cozying up to the Kremlin.