Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rejected President Trump’s claim that Ukraine is a corrupt country.
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Zelensky pushed back on the assertion Trump made in a Fox News interview last year that Ukraine is known as the third-most corrupt country in the world, instead claiming Kiev fights corruption every day.
“That’s not true. When I had a meeting with President Trump and he said that in previous years [Ukraine] was such a corrupt country, I told him very honestly and I was very open with him. I told him that we fight with corruption. We fight each day,” Zelensky said.
“Please, please stop saying that Ukraine is a corrupt country, because from now, it’s not true. We want to change this image.”
The comments came a week after the Senate acquitted President Trump in its impeachment trial over his dealings with Ukraine.
Democrats allege that Trump abused his power by witholding nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to pressure Zelensky to investigate his political rivals, chiefly former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. They also claim that he obstructed Congress by working to hinder subsequent probes.
Republicans have countered that Trump was seeking to make sure the money would not go to a country known to have issues with fighting corruption.
Zelensky said the impeachment proceedings, which gripped Capitol Hill for months and exposed partisan divides, did not damage his relationship with Trump.
Ukraine now has a “very good relationship with the U.S.,” Zelensky said.
“I want to thank the President, and the USA, and ordinary American people for supporting Ukraine, especially now when we have war. Thank you for your help… We feel it, we feel it with our hearts, with our body,” he added, referring to the conflict raging with Russia in the eastern part of Ukraine.