Ukraine's Zelensky rebukes key Trump defense on freezing military aid

Clay Curtis
December 4, 2019

Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.In a new interview with Time and three European outlets, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rejected one of President Donald Trump's central talking points in defending his decision to withhold millions in military aid from Kiev. "But that signal from [the United States] is very important". "We are an independent country". During my meeting with him, I said that I don't want our country to have this image.

The four-way global peace summit will feature the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, with hopes that a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine would be found. But you have to understand that we are at war, said Zelensky edition.

Twelve days after he said that, sources tell CNN, Chalupa met with staffers on the committee for a more-than-two-hour meeting covering a range of subjects, including why she was so alarmed in 2016 to learn that candidate Donald Trump had hired Paul Manafort, who worked with corrupt Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. But then he got into how Trump and other US officials had been publicly labeling Ukraine a "corrupt country" and the difficulties that this causes with global investors and businesses.

But a rough transcript of a July 25 telephone call shows that Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate whether Biden, while USA vice president, pressed Ukraine to fire Ukraine's top prosecutor to stop a probe of Burisma, a gas company which Biden's son Hunter had worked for as a director. "And if you are our strategic partner then you should not block any help".

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Trump mischaracterized Zelensky's remarks, applauding them in a Monday morning tweet as an exoneration and declaring that his Ukrainian counterpart had "just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls". It's about fairness for me. It's not about a quid pro quo. "It just goes without saying", he added. He presses Ukraine for investigations into Democrats as USA aid to Ukraine is withheld. "If the Radical Left Democrats were sane, which they are not, it would be case over!" It might be a stretch to suggest that messaging was targeted at Trump or Giuliani, but it's notable that he called out the type of behavior that's placed Giuliani and his pressure campaign in Ukraine at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry. It's not about a quid pro quo.

The interview shows Zelensky was critical of the Trump administration's block on military aid to Ukraine amid its war with Russian Federation.

In the interview, Zelenskiy told reporters that while Trump's former special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker "tried hard" and had "a lot of success" in peace talks with Russia, Ukraine still requires support from the U.S.

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