Ukraine has receded from world attention since its peak in 2014, when it changed presidents, Russia annexed Crimea and fighting was active in its east. The world reacted, for the large part, with words rather than actions.

Independent since 1991 in the wake of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, Ukraine, Europe’s second-largest country, with a population of 45 million, is in the center of a tough region, with borders on Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia. None of these seven countries is particularly prosperous. Russia is far and away Ukraine’s most important trading partner, taking 18 percent of its exports and providing 22 percent of its imports.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and its continued military involvement in Ukraine’s rebellious east, is the current cause of tension, intermittent fighting and complex relations between the two. It bears noting that Crimea was part of Russia until 1954 and that 60 percent of the population of Crimea is Russian speaking.

Russia and President Vladimir Putin, seeking to bolster his popular political support through successful aggression in Ukraine, are very much the villains of the piece in the trouble in eastern Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea and Western European and American reaction, including economic sanctions against Russia.

Seeking to make lemonade from the lemon of current relations, the Russians and the Trump administration could serve as the vehicle through which the Ukraine problem, as a regional issue, could be cleaned up. The U.S. could stop pushing to incorporate Ukraine into Western Europe through NATO and the European Union, Russia could withdraw its military support for the eastern Ukrainian rebels, and Crimea could become some sort of internationally observed territory as a step toward restoring it to Ukraine.

Putin and Trump need to meet soon, in any case. Ukraine has to be on the agenda.