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Donald Trump has officially been inaugurated as U.S. president, but questions about Russia's interference in the election will not go away.Russia's meddling in the U.S. election was unprecedented. Just three years ago, it would have been unimaginable: Though the West's relationship with Russia was far from ideal, and featured plenty of competition, it was also characterized by cooperation. While Russia's efforts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election fit the broader pattern of escalation that began after 2014, they still represent quite a step change. Russia probably hacked the Democratic and Republican campaigns in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, too, given its formidable cyber capabilities. The election meddling also represented a significant risk for Russia. While the extent to which the leaked emails affected the vote is unknown, the Kremlin has certainly paid a price for its actions, alienating most of the American public, along with nearly the entire U.S. political elite.Despite the Kremlin's escalation, the U.S. and the EU have refused to acquiesce to the negotiation Russia wants, and continue to support Ukraine's integration with the EU and NATO.As Russia's meddling in the U.S. election amply demonstrates, the consequences of allowing the Ukraine crisis to continue extend far beyond that country's borders.
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