This weekend, former Rudy Giuliani henchman and Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas spoke with investigative journalist Vicky Ward about his thoughts regarding the standoff between the West and Russian President Vladimir Putin's alleged intentions to invade Ukraine.
Ward harkens back to former President Donald Trump's "shadow foreign policy effort" towards Ukraine, and the "chief vessel through which Trump allegedly tried to achieve this shadow foreign policy," namely Rudy Giuliani, whose trips to Ukraine were organized by Parnas and Russian-born businessman Igor Fruman. Parnas and Fruman were arrested and charged in 2019 with federal campaign finance violations.
According to Parnas, the rising tensions over Ukraine that we're seeing now "stems from what transpired in the Trump presidency." Before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was in office, the Ukrainian government was very pro-Hillary, very pro-democracy, very anti-Trump.
"They were very anti-Trump. And when Trump won, the Ukrainians didn't have any kind of relationship with the White House, and they didn't even know how to get ahold of Trump," Parnas said. "So they started using every avenue they could, the Michael Cohens of the world. They reached out to me. They reached out to everybody that they could to try to set [it] up. They paid for it. They did whatever they could to set up a meeting at the White House to try and establish some sort of relationship with the White House."
But in the midst of all that, Parnas says, Trump "had no idea what Ukraine was."
"He had a good understanding of what Russia was. He had admired Putin for a very long time—the strength, the power and the way Putin lived—because, if you take a look, a lot of stuff in Russia is like very Trump style, gold, gaudy," Parnas told Ward. "So they had a lot in common before. But he had no idea about Ukraine. He thought Ukraine and Russia [were] the same—until we had that dinner actually in 2018, when I brought up the subject and where I told him basically that Ukraine is very dependent on the United States."
Read the full interview Vicky Ward Investigates.
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