- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2019

The president of Ukraine is saying that the U.S. shouldn’t block its aid as an ally, but he never spoke with President Trump about a “quid pro quo” deal to conduct investigations.

“We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with several news outlets. “I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying.”

He added, “Look, I never talked to the president [Mr. Trump] from the position of a quid pro quo, That’s not my thing. … I don’t want us to look like beggars.”

Mr. Trump seized on the interview Monday as more proof that the House Democrats’ impeachment case is baseless.

“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,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “If the Radical Left Democrats were sane, which they are not, it would be case over!”

The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first impeachment hearing on Wednesday. The White House said Sunday night that it won’t participate in the hearing.

Mr. Trump has denied that he withheld military aid temporarily to Ukraine last summer while pressuring Mr. Zelensky to conduct investigations into the 2016 election and Democratic frontrunner Joseph R. Biden.

Mr. Zelensky is heading into his first round of peace talks with Russia, scheduled to take place in Paris on Dec. 9, to end the five-year-long war on their border.

In the interview on Saturday, Mr. Zelensky also chided the U.S. for emphasizing corruption in Ukraine.

“The United States of America is a signal, for the world, for everyone,” he said. “When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals. 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.’ “

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