"I don't want us to look like beggars".
In the interview published on Monday, Zelensky also played down expectations ahead of a summit on December 9 in Paris in which he is set to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the first time.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a newly-released interview that he never discussed "quid pro quo" with President Donald Trump, once again denying any link between the release of USA military aid in exchange for investigations.
He said that an end to the conflict with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine could not be discussed until three preliminary steps had been taken.
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky told Time that there was no "quid pro quo" demand from President Donald Trump involving military aid, but he was still not pleased that the aid was temporarily held up.
"As for the United States, I would really want - and we feel this, it's true - for them to help us, to understand us, to see that we are a player in our own right, that they can not make deals about us with anyone behind our backs. They still need us now going forward".
"I don't know these people". "That's why I think nobody can have any trust". But then he got into how Trump and other US officials had been publicly labeling Ukraine a "corrupt country" and the difficulties that this causes with global investors and businesses.
"When America says...that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals", Zelensky said. "It might seem like an easy thing to say, that combination of words: Ukraine is a corrupt country". But, much of the impeachment inquiry has highlighted the corruption in the nation over the years. Investments, banks, stakeholders, companies, American, European, companies that have global capital in Ukraine, it's a signal to them that says, 'Be careful, don't invest.' Or, 'Get out of there'. "And we are working to clean that up. But that signal from [the United States] is very important".
"There was breaking news today, the Ukrainian president came out and said very strongly that President Trump did nothing wrong".
Trump says that his infamous July 25 call with Zelensky was "perfect", but testimony from career US diplomat David Holmes indicated that the Ukrainians were cognizant that the American president wanted something from them.