Speaking to reporters from TIME and three of Europe’s leading publications, the President explained that, despite getting caught up in the impeachment inquiry now unfolding in Washington, D.C., Ukraine still needs the support of the United States.
Otherwise his country does not stand much of a chance, Zelensky said, in its effort to get back the territory Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014, starting with the Crimean Peninsula. Nor can Ukraine rely on steady financial support from abroad if President Donald Trump and his allies continue to signal to the world that Ukraine is corrupt, Zelensky said. “When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals.”Time:
Highlights from the interview:
- In the context of quid pro quo, Trump and Zelinsky did not discuss aid for political favors.
- Backed allegations of corruption in Ukraine.
- Questioned withholding aid: “If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us,” he said. “I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo.”
“When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals,” the president said. “It might seem like an easy thing to say, that combination of words: Ukraine is a corrupt country. Just to say it and that’s it. But it doesn’t end there. Everyone hears that signal. Investments, banks, stakeholders, companies, American, European, companies that have international capital in Ukraine, it’s a signal to them that says, ‘Be careful, don’t invest.’ Or, ‘Get out of there.’”The Hill:
Trump tweeted about the interview and claimed Zelinsky exonerated him and said Trump did nothing wrong; he did not:
As Trump boarded Marine One on his way to the NATO summit in the UK, Trump repeated the false claim.