WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky touched on different topics including his mistrust on U.S. officials for spreading false information, and Trump’s decreasing support of Ukraine, during an interview with Time and other media outlets.
- Trump together with his House allies continue to support and spread a conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine and not Russia that meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
- However, that theory was quashed by U.S. intelligence and a testimony from a former Trump Russian expert.
In an interview with Time and European media, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed about his misgivings about foreign officials and denounced President Donald Trump for his dwindling support of Ukraine.
Zelensky’s remarks during the interview on Monday, signifies his fiercest defense of Ukraine since the House impeachment inquiry on Trump’s efforts to compel Ukraine to conduct political investigations into his rivals began.
At one point, Zelensky said, “If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo.”
Trump’s aim of withholding military aid in exchange for public investigations into the Bidens along with the efforts of the president and White House officials to uphold a conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the U.S. 2016 election is the subject of the ongoing impeachment hearings.
While the conspiracy theory that Ukraine and not Russia interfered with the elections had been debunked by the U.S. Intelligence Community and Trump administration’s former top Russia expert, Dr. Fiona Hill, Trump’s Republican allies continued to disseminate the disproved information.
Zelensky also expressed dismay to reporters in the Time interview over how these conspiracy theories affect Ukraine.
“The United States of America is a signal for the world, for everyone. When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, it might seem like an easy thing to say. But it doesn’t end there. 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.’ This is a hard signal.”
Trump has repeatedly insisted that he coerced Ukraine only with the intention of extracting corruption in the country which deposed its former president Petro Poroshenko. However, Zelensky told Time that he doesn’t have to prove himself to Trump.
“During my meeting with him, I said that I don’t want our country to have this image. For that, all he has to do is come and have a look at what’s happening, how we live, what kinds of people we are. I don’t need to change his mind.”
Meanwhile, Zelensky also touched on other topics including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s intrusion on Ukrainian territory.
Regarding the upcoming peace talks with Putin, he said he is cautious of trusting the Russian president saying, “I don’t trust anyone at all. I don’t know these people.”