WASHINGTON- The United States found itself on the side of the victors in Ukraine’s political crisis on Monday — but took pains not to crow.
Washington opted for calculated caution over celebration following the flight of President Viktor Yanukovych, as the opposition in Kiev exchanged a bloody uprising for a perilous political transition.
Obama administration spokespeople delicately navigated press briefings, wary of further bruising Russian pride after the fall of a Kiev client.
The public reticence defied a reflex for schadenfreude amid frustration here over Moscow’s backing for another repressive leader, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
The White House knows its fragile ties with President Vladimir Putin are vital to easing nuclear talks with Iran and the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
But there was also a sense that Ukraine’s latest revolution is not an end point and that many unknowns remain before its seething politics settle.
Washington has already warned against two possible, if apparently unlikely, scenarios: a splintering of Ukraine into pro-Russia and pro-Europe slices and a Russian military incursion.