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Jared Kushner pictured with Volodymyr Zelensky at diplomat dinner 7 weeks before Trump call
27 September 2019, 15:08
author: Alyona Getmanchuk

Comment by Alyona Getmanchuk for “Newsweek“.


An image has been shared on social media of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky sitting next to White House adviser Jared Kushner at a diplomatic dinner with European leaders, some seven weeks before the controversial phone call between President Donald Trump and Zelensky that sparked impeachment proceedings.

So far, Kushner’s name has been far from the growing firestorm in Washington over the call and the whistleblower’s document alleging Trump pressured Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

The picture, uploaded to photo-sharing site Flickr, shows Trump’s son-in-law sitting with Zelensky to his right on June 4, two weeks after the Ukrainian president’s inauguration.

The picture’s caption noted that the dinner marked the U.S. Mission to the EU’s annual Independence Day celebrations and was hosted by the U.S. Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland.

Also present among the leaders and diplomats were U.S. energy secretary Rick Perry and U.S. State Department Counselor, Ulrich Brechbuhl, who, according to the whistleblower, was listening in to the leaders’ phone conversation of July 25.

The image of the dinner has been widely shared on social media, with Laura Rozen, a journalist with Al Monitor, tweeting to her 145,000 followers: “Had noted the other night that on Ukrainegate, Kushner and Ivanka suddenly seem to be invisible. But I was wrong. Not invisible.”

The Financial Times reported at the time that Kushner had met with Zelensky, who was on his first trip to Brussels to reassure Kyiv’s western backers. Kushner had gone to Brussels during Trump’s controversial visit to the U.K at the start of June.

Perry had led the U.S. delegation to Zelensky’s inauguration on May 20, with the whistleblower saying that Trump had canceled sending vice-president Mike Pence, and that Trump did not want to meet with the Ukrainian president until he saw how he “chose to act” in office.

Meanwhile, there are concerns in Kyiv that Ukraine could be adversely impacted by the crisis, as it relies on U.S. congressional bipartisan support as a buffer against the threat of Russia.

Head of the Ukraine program at the Chatham House think tank, Orysia Lutsevych, has said that Kyiv is “caught in the crossfire,” especially given that “U.S. development and military aid to Ukraine remains critical.”

Alyona Getmanchuk, director of the Kyiv-based New Europe Center, told Newsweek that there is considerable uncertainty now about the relationship between Washington and Ukraine.

“We don’t even know what the strategy of the U.S. president toward the Ukraine is right now.

“I want to believe that it would be support. I don’t know if it would be conditional or unconditional, that is the question.

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