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Analyst believes removal of sanctions can be political bargaining chip with Russia

January 18, 2017, 18:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Ukrainian question will gradually lose urgency, the analyst says

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© Alexei Pavlishak/TASS

MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. Anti-Russian sanctions will be gradually lifted, but their removal could be a political bargaining chip between the United States and Russia, according to an analytical report titled "Donald Trump: a professional profile of the new US president" presented at the Valdai International Discussion Club on Wednesday. It was prepared by a group of Russian experts led by Valdai Discussion Club Program Director, Andrey Sushentsov.

"The West will gradually lift its anti-Russian sanctions under pressure from those who oppose them in the US and EU," the report noted. "The Ukrainian crisis propelled Russia toward China, to the detriment of US long-term interests. The US might well respond by enlisting Russia’s support in containing China. Washington will gradually lift sanctions in an attempt to get Russia moving in the desired direction."

The Ukrainian question will gradually lose urgency, the report said.

"The Ukrainian crisis put an end to the period when it was generally thought that Russia and the West were pursuing a common goal of forming a Euro-Atlantic community," the experts noted. "Russian-US relations need more than a new "fix" or "reset:" they need a complete reformatting. In the coming years, however, the U.S. is likely to be too focused on itself for such an undertaking."

Russia-US ties

The possible improvement of relations between Russia and the United States will depend on the personal relationship between the two countries’ leaders, according to the report.

The report noted that Trump "has repeatedly expressed admiration for the leadership qualities of Russian President Vladimir Putin." "Trump also took a positive view of the start of Russian military operations in Syria and supported cooperation between the two countries in the fight against ISIL (former name of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group outlawed in Russia - TASS). In addition, Trump has not ruled out lifting sanctions and recognizing Crimea as Russian territory," it said.

Its authors noted that, considering Trump’s commitment to negotiations, "the practical realization of these proposals will depend, in the first place, on the nature of personal relations between the leaders of the two countries and, secondly, on whether those issues will be on the table." "Without a doubt, Trump, as president, will demand a high price for any U.S. concessions," the report stated.

According to its authors, Trump is "cautious in answering the question of whether he will be able to get along with Vladimir Putin, but he always adds that he will definitely make the effort and that it would benefit both countries." "For his part, Putin limits himself to describing Trump as ‘colorful’ and ‘extravagant,’ but has maintained the possibility of mending bilateral relations," the report reads.

"At this point, Trump has every opportunity to get on good terms with the Russian leader," the experts said. "Not having skimped on positive assessments of Putin since 2007, Trump promises to begin treating Russia’s interests with respect. On the other hand, Trump makes no breezy promises of establishing perfect relations with the Russian leader. Trump believes that only by taking a firm approach and advancing his own interests can he achieve mutual respect and good relations with Putin."

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