Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy insisted again in a new interview that there was no quid pro quo with the Trump administration, although he added that strategic partners such as the U.S. and Ukraine should not hold back anything from each other.
Speaking with reporters from Time and European publications, Zelenskiy answered myriad questions about the U.S. aid that was held up earlier this year, Ukraine’s peace talks with Russia, and more topics.
“Look, I never talked to [President Donald Trump] from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing. … I don’t want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We’re at war,” Zelenskiy 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.”
House Democrats are conducting an impeachment probe of Trump in regards to his holding back U.S. military aid to Ukraine over the summer. He is accused of withholding the aid in order to force Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of Trump’s rivals in the 2020 election.
When asked about peace talks with Russia and whether he trusts Russian President Vladimir Putin, Zelenskiy said, “I don’t trust anyone at all. I’ll tell you honestly. Politics is not an exact science. That’s why in school I loved mathematics. Everything in mathematics was clear to me. You can solve an equation with a variable, with one variable. But here it’s only variables, including the politicians in our country.”
Zelenskiy also said that he has difficulty digesting Trump’s continued claim that Ukraine is corrupt, a label that pre-dates Zelenskiy’s time in office.
“I don’t need to change his mind. 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 had the sense that he heard me,” he said.
Trump commented on Zelenskiy’s interview in a Monday morning tweet, writing, “Breaking News: The President of Ukraine has just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls. If the Radical Left Democrats were sane, which they are not, it would be case over!”