Volodymyr Zelensky disputes USA claims of corruption in Ukraine

25 2019 US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak during a meeting in New York

Ukraine's president on Monday renewed his denial of a quid pro quo with Donald Trump over military aid, despite a growing case against the United States president in impeachment proceedings in Washington.

Zelensky argued in the Time interview that Trump's constant references to Ukrainian corruption make it more hard for the country to secure the global support required to deter Russian aggression in Crimea. But Mr. Zelenskiy didn't go that far in a Time interview published on December 2.

During the interview, Zelenskiy said he "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", Zelenskiy said in the transcript.

Trump mischaracterized Zelensky's remarks, applauding them in a Monday morning tweet as an exoneration and declaring that his Ukrainian counterpart had "just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls".

While the comedian-turned-president didn't outright break with Trump on any given topic, Zelensky created some noteworthy distance between his country and the White House's stance on issues relevant to the impeachment probe.

Zelensky appeared to call out the USA and Republicans for peddling conspiracy theories about Ukraine and 2016 election. "Just to say it and that's it". "These are important things, very important things, especially right now, when we are in such a hard position".

"Everyone hears that signal", he said.

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The United States of America is a signal, for the world, for everyone. For me it's very important for the United States, with all they can do for us, for them really to understand that we are a different country, that we are different people. It's not that those things don't exist.

"All branches of government were corrupted over many years", he said. "But that signal from them is very important", Zelensky explained.

Reporter: Yet last week President Trump said on live television that Ukrainians are corrupt, and they steal money.

Zelensky: I don't need to change his mind. I had that sense.

The alleged quid pro quo is at the centre of the ongoing impeachment inquiry which has embroiled U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration.

"He told reporters that America has "direct relations with Russian Federation", and moving forward, should "influence Russian Federation", to "make everyone see" that the war is a "big tragedy", and that it must end". "When I did find out, I raised it with [Vice President] Pence at a meeting in Warsaw" on September 1. Critics pointed out that the president made no mention of a key line from Zelensky: "If you're our strategic partner, then you can't go blocking anything for us".

Giuliani and other Trump allies say Ukrainians forged a record of millions of dollars in payments - known as the "black ledger" - to Manafort from Yanukovich's associates.

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