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Rapprochement on Russia's Terms

Why It Won't Work for the United States

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, December 2016.  Mikhail Klimentyev / Kremlin / REUTERS

Donald Trump’s inauguration as U.S. president will come at a pivotal moment for Russian foreign policy. Facing persistent economic stagnation and a presidential election next year, Russia has an interest in consolidating its recent gains abroad. At the same time, political uncertainty in the West is presenting new opportunities to Moscow. 

The fall of Aleppo to Syrian government forces backed by Russian airpower, together with Russia's diplomatic outreach to Turkey and Iran, has created an opening for Russia to preserve its core interests in Syria and allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to declare victory there. And although the conflict in eastern Ukraine remains deadlocked, Russian observers believe that time is on Russia’s side, as the West’s appetite for upholding sanctions wanes and the standing of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko weakens amid corruption scandals and a sputtering economy. Eventually, Moscow hopes, Kiev will have to choose either

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