Ukraine’s Zelensky Bowed to Trump’s Demands, Until Luck Spared Him

HayJenn

Former Staff
Jul 2014
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KIEV, Ukraine — It was early September, and Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, faced an agonizing choice: whether to capitulate to President Trump’s demands to publicly announce investigations against his political enemies or to refuse, and lose desperately needed military aid. Only Mr. Trump could unlock the aid, he had been told by two US Senators that time was running out. If the money, nearly $400 million, were not unblocked by the end of the fiscal year on Sept 30, it would be lost in it its entirety.

In a flurry of WhatsApp messages and meetings in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, over several days, senior aides debated the point. Avoiding partisan politics in the United States had always been the first rule of Ukrainian foreign policy, but the military aid was vital to the war against Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, a conflict that has cost 13,000 lives since it began in 2014. By then, however, Mr. Zelensky’s staffers were already conceding to what seemed to be the inevitable, and making plans for a public announcement about the investigations. It was a fateful decision for a fledgling president elected on an anticorruption platform that included putting an end to politically motivated investigations.


Elements of this internal Ukrainian debate have appeared in the Ukrainian news media and seeped into congressional testimony in the United States, as part of an impeachment inquiry undertaken after accusations surfaced of Mr. Trump’s demands. But interviews in Kiev with government officials, lawmakers and others close to the Zelensky government have revealed new details of how high-level Ukrainian officials ultimately decided to acquiesce to President Trump’s request — and, by a stroke of luck, never had to follow through.

The trade soon became explicit. They were approached in September by Mr. Sondland, a major donor to Mr. Trump’s inauguration who had been appointed ambassador to the European Union despite having no diplomatic experience. At that point, he explained in blunt terms to Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Yermak, there was little chance the aid would be forthcoming until they made the public statement on the investigations. I said that resumption of the U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anticorruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,” Mr. Sondland said in sworn testimony released Tuesday by the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/07/world/europe/ukraine-trump-zelensky.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Wait a minute, they received word on this from two US senators? That's a big deal, it means there were senators in on this too. Who were they?

Also seems like Zelensky was getting pretty desperate at that point. Thank goodness for the Whistleblower.

Obviously this was meant to be an "extortion" by Trump btw.
 
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May 2016
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The whistleblower is a true American patriot. I can only imagine the position Zelensky was place into. Trump and his supporters should be regarded to the annuals of history as being treasonous assholes.
 
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KIEV, Ukraine — It was early September, and Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, faced an agonizing choice: whether to capitulate to President Trump’s demands to publicly announce investigations against his political enemies or to refuse, and lose desperately needed military aid. Only Mr. Trump could unlock the aid, he had been told by two US Senators that time was running out. If the money, nearly $400 million, were not unblocked by the end of the fiscal year on Sept 30, it would be lost in it its entirety.

In a flurry of WhatsApp messages and meetings in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, over several days, senior aides debated the point. Avoiding partisan politics in the United States had always been the first rule of Ukrainian foreign policy, but the military aid was vital to the war against Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, a conflict that has cost 13,000 lives since it began in 2014. By then, however, Mr. Zelensky’s staffers were already conceding to what seemed to be the inevitable, and making plans for a public announcement about the investigations. It was a fateful decision for a fledgling president elected on an anticorruption platform that included putting an end to politically motivated investigations.


Elements of this internal Ukrainian debate have appeared in the Ukrainian news media and seeped into congressional testimony in the United States, as part of an impeachment inquiry undertaken after accusations surfaced of Mr. Trump’s demands. But interviews in Kiev with government officials, lawmakers and others close to the Zelensky government have revealed new details of how high-level Ukrainian officials ultimately decided to acquiesce to President Trump’s request — and, by a stroke of luck, never had to follow through.

The trade soon became explicit. They were approached in September by Mr. Sondland, a major donor to Mr. Trump’s inauguration who had been appointed ambassador to the European Union despite having no diplomatic experience. At that point, he explained in blunt terms to Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Yermak, there was little chance the aid would be forthcoming until they made the public statement on the investigations. I said that resumption of the U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anticorruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,” Mr. Sondland said in sworn testimony released Tuesday by the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/07/world/europe/ukraine-trump-zelensky.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Wait a minute, they received word on this from two US senators? That's a big deal, it means there were senators in on this too. Who were they?

Also seems like Zelensky was getting pretty desperate at that point. Thank goodness for the Whistleblower.

Obviously this was meant to be an "extortion" by Trump btw.
I can answer by giving one name for sure, Senator Ron Johnson. You should see if you can find his interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the press on Oct 7, 2019.

I watched it when it was on and right now all I can find is a link but it has no video

 
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