Zelensky: Motor Sich is strategic enterprise, should be 'related' to president, no discussions on it
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky notes that he cannot completely disregard the fate of PJSC Motor Sich, since this enterprise is strategic for the country.
"All I know about this is the thesis that you've just talked about. I also read about it, and I read it at night. I didn't meet anyone, I didn't talk to anyone about it. But this 'personal issue' should be related to the president of Ukraine, because Motor Sich is a strategic enterprise. I can't add anything to this yet," he told Radio Svoboda in Kharkiv, commenting on the information from the Wall Street Journal that the private security contractor and informal adviser to President Trump, Erik Prince, "is in discussions to purchase a Ukrainian aerospace manufacturer that the U.S. is trying to prevent China from buying."
"The Trump administration has approached Mr. Prince and at least one other potential buyer from the private sector about Motor Sich. In recent weeks, Mr. Prince has discussed the company with Ukrainian officials and visited the company's main plant, according to people briefed on the matter. During his most recent Ukraine trip, on October 24-27, Mr. Prince visited the Motor Sich factory," the article in the newspaper reads.
"In late September, the chargé d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Bill Taylor, and Donald Winter, the Pentagon's senior defense-industry adviser on Ukraine, visited the company in the eastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia," it says.
The publication indicates that Prince was the founder of the Blackwater major defense contractor that he sold in 2010, and is now the executive director of Frontier Services Group (FSG), a Hong Kong and Beijing-based private security, logistics and infrastructure contractor listed on the Hong Kong Exchange. The largest shareholder of FSG with a 25.91% stake at the end of 2018 was CITIC Group Corp., a state-controlled Chinese investment fund. Prince is the brother of Trump's Administration Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and his service record includes the creation of Presidential Airways with a fleet of 70 aircraft.
"He has other business interests outside China and has traveled a number of times to Ukraine, visiting at least nine times since the start of 2014. A U.S. government official sought out Mr. Prince in Washington earlier this year. Mr. Prince expressed interest in Motor Sich, as long as the company remained a Ukrainian entity and he could receive its client list," the article says.