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Ukraine President Zelensky says there was no quid pro quo with Trump, but criticizes withholding of aid

'I think that's just about fairness'

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky told Time that there was no "quid pro quo" demand from President Donald Trump involving military aid, but he was still not pleased that the aid was temporarily held up.

President Trump is very likely going to be impeached by the House of Representatives for an alleged abuse of power, standing accused of withholding military aid from Ukraine to pressure Zelensky into opening and/or publicly announcing investigations into the Ukrainian business dealings of Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, while Joe was vice president.

But, Zelensky has and continues to maintain that there was no such arrangement.

"I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo," Zelensky said. "That's not my thing."

Zelensky has expressed a desire to avoid involvement in U.S. political affairs, a position that was affirmed by numerous witnesses who testified last month in the impeachment inquiry hearings. 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 don't want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We're at war," 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. It just goes without saying."

Zelensky is also bothered by the constant portrayal of Ukraine as a corrupt nation. While the characterization is indisputably accurate, Zelensky wants and needs that image of Ukraine to change for the nation to advance under his administration. But, much of the impeachment inquiry has highlighted the corruption in the nation over the years.

"When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals," Zelensky 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.'"

One of President Trump's cited reasons for withholding security aid to Ukraine was concern about corruption.

(H/T: The Hill)

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