Ukrainian president slams Trump decision to delay military aid

Donbas conflict soldier smoking       RFE  RL

Despite privately expressing skepticism regarding the claims, a growing number of Republicans in Congress have made the strategic decision to publicly back the claim, believing it to be the most "politically expedient" Trump defense against impeachment, according to the Washington Examiner.

Trump later told reporters as he departed Monday for London for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit that Zelenskiy's comments should be "case closed", mischaracterizing the interview by saying that Zelenskiy had come out and said "very strongly that President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong".

In the same interview, the Ukrainian president also took aim at Trump's rhetoric about Ukrainian "corruption" - Zelensky believes Trump's claims undermined Ukraine in the eyes of global observers and investors - before concluding, "I don't trust anyone at all". That's not my thing.

"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".

"There is also compelling and indisputable evidence that Ukrainian government officials - some working with a Democrat operative - sought to influence the US presidential election in 2016 in favor of Secretary Clinton and in opposition to President Trump", Republicans claim.

Zelensky has expressed a desire to avoid involvement in USA political affairs, a position that was affirmed by numerous witnesses who testified last month in the impeachment inquiry hearings.

Pointing out that US intelligence agencies have concluded Russia interfered in 2016 - despite attempts to frame Ukraine for the interference - Todd asked Kennedy: "Are you at all concerned you are doing Russian intelligence work here?" But you have to understand: "We're at war", he added, referring to his country's military conflict with Russian Federation and its proxies. It's not about a quid pro quo. I think that's just about fairness. Zelenskiy says, "That's not my thing".

"There was no blackmail", Zelensky told reporters in October.

During the interview, Zelenskiy also pushed back against Trump's comments categorizing Ukraine as a corrupt, saying it is damaging to the country.

"Everyone hears that signal", he said.

"When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals", he said. "But that signal from them is very important", Zelensky explained.

Republicans cite a summary of a call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as "the best evidence" that no such pressure campaign occurred.



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