Zelenskiy: Allies 'can't go blocking' aid at time of war

Alonzo Simpson
December 3, 2019

ZELENSKY: Look, I never talked to the President from the position of a quid pro quo.

As they did in the hearings, Republicans also argue that the evidence does not support claims that Trump used USA security assistance and a White House meeting as leverage to get Zelenskiy to open an investigation into his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter. It was one at the end of the interview, when Zelensky was asked the $300-million question: "When did you first sense that there was a connection between Trump's decision to block military aid to Ukraine this summer and the two investigations that Trump and his allies were asking for?"

"I did not speak with US President Trump in those terms: you give me this, I give you that", Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with European publications including Germany's Der Spiegel magazine. That's not my thing. "I don't want us to look like beggars", Zelenskiy said in the transcript.

Far from exonerating Trump, that sounded like the Ukrainian president was criticizing Trump for withholding US military aid for our vulnerable ally.

Mr. Trump's July 25 call with Mr. Zelenskiy is at the centre of the House impeachment probe.

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The Ukraine interference conspiracy endorsed by Putin, Trump and now Kennedy, has been soundly debunked not only by USA intelligence agencies, but also by a Republican-led Senate committee in 2017. But you have to understand: "We're at war", he added, referring to his country's military conflict with Russian Federation and its proxies. We're at war. If you're our strategic partner, then you can't go blocking anything for us. So he said he wasn't aware of or concerned with any alleged quid pro quo - he was concerned about his nation's ability to defend itself. I think that's just about fairness.

That backs up earlier congressional testimony from U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia who said diplomats knew about the freeze by the time of the phone call.

Republicans also argue that Democrats ignored evidence about Trump's state of mind, which they say shows "deeply-rooted, reasonable, and genuine concerns about corruption in Ukraine", including Hunter Biden being appointed to board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company with a reputation for corruption, when his father was the Obama administration's point person for Ukraine policy.

"Everyone hears that signal", he said.

"Politics is not an exact science", Zelenskiy said. "But that signal from them is very important", Zelensky explained.

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