MOSCOW, September 24. /TASS/. Statements of US President Donald Trump on potential suspension of financial aid to Ukraine may be related to the upcoming US election, Vladimir Zharikhin, deputy director of the Institute of CIS Studies, told TASS on Tuesday.
"As usual, Trump is trying to form an advantageous starting point for himself with such statements," the pundit said. "Whether [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky, who is not very experienced in international and power relations, can withstand it, is difficult to say."
The expert does not rule out that the US leader may be trying to put pressure on Zelensky to resolve domestic policy issues. "This may be a continuation of the legendary, but so far unconfirmed, conversation with Zelensky regarding the ‘dirt’ on Joseph Biden, which he has not received. No aid for you then, he [Trump] said allegedly," the analyst continued.
Zharikhin pointed out that the Ukrainian political elite had become too closely involved with the USA, caught up in the rivalry between opposite political forces. "The situation in Ukraine is influenced not only by the US administration, but also by the political opposition in Congress, which plays its own game regarding Ukraine," the expert explained. "So Zelensky finds himself in a rather tough situation, where he has to choose between risky alternatives, both of which may lead to dire consequences. He is often told that he should choose between Trump and Biden, to bet on one of them in a tough electoral campaign that is already unfolding."
US and Ukraine
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump stated that Washington does not wish to be the main provider of financial aid to Ukraine, adding that the US will withhold its financial contributions until the EU boosts its support of Ukraine.
On September 20, the Wall Street Journal daily reported, citing its own sources, that during a phone call in July, the US leader urged Zelensky "roughly eight times" to work with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in investigating Hunter Biden’s (Joe Biden’s son) ties to a Ukrainian energy company. So far, Biden is the most likely opponent of Trump in the upcoming presidential election, having the highest chances to win the Democratic primary.