13:46 23.09.2019

Zelensky's aide Yermak says meeting with Giuliani was his idea

3 min read

Andriy Yermak, an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said it was his own initiative to have a meeting with Rudolph Giuliani, U.S. President Donald Trump's lawyer.

"When I read that he [Giuliani] planned on coming to Ukraine but then changed his mind 'because there are Trump's enemies in Zelensky's team' [Giuliani said about this in an interview in early May 2019], I proposed talking to him. I knew [U.S. Department of State special representative for Ukraine negotiations] Kurt Volker at the time, I told him about my idea of talking to Giuliani to clarify the situation, he approved of my idea and offered to introduce me to him," Yermak said in an interview with LB.ua.

"Then things went like this: I came to Washington, and one of the first meetings was at Congress. We tell the Democrats and Republicans what we are going to do in the justice system and how the courts will work. Then I decide to inform the Congress members that I plan to call Giuliani to tell him this: what counts most is that we have a new team and a new president, and we are simple folk. There is no need to look for mediators to meet with us. Here is my telephone number, and you can always call and come. And besides, I am a fan of what he did for New York as mayor," Yermak said.

He also said he wanted to assure Giuliani that, with the new administration in the office, all investigations in Ukraine will be conducted transparently and there will be no calls from above to order opening or closing some investigation.

"These are fundamental principles and basics of President Zelensky's program, with which we were running in the elections. Our team's principles will also include a reset of the governance system, efforts against corruption, and the prosecution system's reform," Yermak said.

He said he had told the U.S. Congress members that he intended to call Giuliani before knowing that "the events would develop the way they are developing now," and, thanks to this, he feels "very confident now."

"And so I talked with Giuliani on the phone and then met in person in Madrid [in July]. I once again set out the same principles to him. He said it was important to him to hear that the new Ukrainian administration would preach principles of openness and legality, would fight corruption, and sought to make Ukraine successful," Yermak said.