Zelensky speaks

Zelensky speaks

by digby

He spoke to TIME Magazine about the whole controversy:
Hardly six months into his tenure as the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky has already learned to temper his expectations. He does not expect his first round of peace talks with Russia, which are scheduled to take place in Paris on Dec. 9, to end the war that has been raging along their border for the past five years. Nor does he expect too much from his Western allies going into these negotiations, Zelensky said in a wide-ranging interview on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters from TIME and three of Europe’s leading publications, the President explained that, despite getting caught up in the impeachment inquiry now unfolding in Washington, D.C., Ukraine still needs the support of the United States.

Otherwise his country does not stand much of a chance, Zelensky said, in its effort to get back the territory Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014, starting with the Crimean Peninsula. Nor can Ukraine rely on steady financial support from abroad if President Donald Trump and his allies continue to signal to the world that Ukraine is corrupt, Zelensky said. “When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals.”

During the interview in his office in Kyiv, the comedian-turned-president denied, as he has done in the past, that he and Trump ever discussed a decision to withhold American aid to Ukraine for nearly two months in the context of a quid pro quo involving political favors, which are now at the center of the impeachment inquiry in Congress.

But he also pushed back on Trump’s recent claims about corruption in Ukraine, and questioned the fairness of Trump’s decision to freeze American aid. “If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us,” he said. “I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo.”

Zelensky has no choice but to try to make amends with this monster in the White House. His country depends upon it. He denies they ever personally "discussed a quid pro quo" but everyone knows that he made Zelensky an offer he couldn't refuse. It's right there in the "transcript" Trump inexplicably released and demands that everyone must read. Trump, of course, is saying he's been completely exonerated. As he always does:
Trump is lying and this Fox News chyron helps him spread it. Zelensky said no such thing: https://t.co/Ern6aidcHF pic.twitter.com/K7Ly8zqS5E
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 2, 2019
Here's the actual exchange:
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? Can you clarify this issue of the quid pro quo? 
Look, I never talked to the President 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. 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.
It's understandable that he can't admit to the quid pro quo. But we know that Zelensky agreed to the CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria.  It was only the intervention of the whistleblower that stopped him from having to do it.

 You can read the whole transcript of the interview here.