- Nov 5, 2007
Aides to Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, decided that military aid and support for peace talks outweighed the risks of appearing to take sides in American politics.
Aides were arguing in favor of “bowing to what was demanded,” said Petro Burkovskiy, a senior fellow at the Democratic Initiatives Foundation who has close ties to the Ukrainian government. They were willing to do so, he said, despite the risk of losing bipartisan support in the United States by appearing to assist Mr. Trump’s re-election bid. “The cost was high.”
That stance has crumbled as a succession of United States diplomats, capped by Mr. Sondland on Tuesday, have testified in the impeachment inquiry that the freeze on aid was part of a quid pro quo designed to coerce Mr. Zelensky into making the public statement.
In Kiev, there is still a debate about whether Mr. Zelensky caved or held out. “The Zelensky team was ready to make this quid quo pro,” said Mr. Burkovskiy, the analyst. “They were ready to do this.”