Allies 'can't go blocking' aid at time of war, Ukraine's Zelensky says

Clay Curtis
December 3, 2019

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy insisted again in a new interview that there was no quid pro quo with the Trump administration, although he added that strategic partners such as the USA and Ukraine should not hold back anything from each other.

But then I read Zelensky's interview with a group of global journalists, including a reporter from Time magazine, and it quickly became obvious that the Ukrainian president did not say what Trump claimed he said. But Mr. Zelenskiy didn't go that far in a Time interview published on December 2. "He just came out a little while ago and said President Trump did nothing wrong and that should end everything, but it will never end it because they want to do what they want to do". That's not my thing.

"I don't want us to look like beggars".

In other words, the chaff thrown up by Trump and his allies in defense of his attempt to persuade Zelensky to announce two investigations that could help Trump's reelection bid - "Ukraine is corrupt, and Trump was just trying to protect taxpayers' money" - is at least as harmful to Ukraine's new housecleaning government as it is helpful to Trump.

Zelenskiy also said when leaders like Trump call his country corrupt, it sends a concerning message. "Just to say it and that's it". "For me it's very important for the United States, with all they can do for us, for them really to understand that we are a different country, that we are different people. These are important things, very important things, especially right now, when we are in such a hard position". "I had the sense that he heard me", he said. "Investments, banks, stakeholders, companies, American, European, companies that have worldwide capital in Ukraine, it's a signal to them that says, 'Be careful, don't invest.' Or, 'Get out of there.' This is a hard signal. We are an independent country". They do. All branches of government were corrupted over many years, and we are working to clean that up. "Whether the hold, the security assistance hold, continued or not, Ukrainians understood that that's something the president wanted and they still wanted important things from the president".

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Zelensky: I don't need to change his mind. At least during the meeting, he said, 'Yes, I see, you're young, you're new, and so on'.

Trump calls the inquiry a partisan "witch hunt" and neither he nor his lawyers have agreed to appear in an inquiry hearing on Wednesday.

"He told reporters that America has "direct relations with Russian Federation", and moving forward, should "influence Russian Federation", to "make everyone see" that the war is a "big tragedy", and that it must end". Critics pointed out that the president made no mention of a key line from Zelensky: "If you're our strategic partner, then you can't go blocking anything for us".

Many pointed out the discrepancies between Trump's statements and the Ukrainian president's interview.

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