The phone call between US President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, that would have been classified, were it not for the Trump impeachment scandal; has displeased German officials who think that Volodymyr Zelensky depreciated Germany's efforts to stabilise the situation in eastern Ukraine, the Spiegel reports.
The German outlet points out that his readiness to agree with Trump in saying Chancellor Angela Merkel "doesn't do anything" about Ukraine's tensions with Russia, has offended the German government. It cites the leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), Rolf Muetzenich, as arguing that it was Angela Merkel and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the then foreign minister that did their best not to allow the region to turn into a flashpoint of military conflict. He also noted that during the whole conversation, Trump sticks to his credo that it is better to fuel grudges than work through mutual agreement and decisions among partners.
Chair of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee, Norbert Roettgen, echoed his opinion in the interview with the Spiegel, saying that Trump hasn't only used his power for his personal interests and gains in the election campaign, but also against Germany and Europe. Apart from displeasure with Zelensky, the German leadership blames Washington for the scandal; Spiegel reports, noting that the Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk is trying to mend relations now. He insists that Zelensky values the German chancellor's significant personal commitment to resolving the issues.
The scandal, which resulted in impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump and a diplomatic rift with the Europeans for Ukraine, was prompted by a complaint from a whistleblower who claimed that Trump might have abused power as he urged Zelensky to investigate the business dealings of Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden's son, with a Ukrainian gas company during a call this July.
In response to the accusations that Trump vehemently denied; the White House released the transcript of the conversation which cast a shadow on the relations between Ukraine and European countries as it contained more than just the discussion of the young Biden's work.
In the conversation, Trump claimed that Germany did almost nothing for Ukraine in contrast to the US, saying Angela Merkel "talks Ukraine, but she doesn't do anything." According to the transcript, Zelensky readily agreed with him and also pinched French President Emmanuel Macron.
"Yes, you are absolutely right. Not only 100%, but actually 1000% and I can tell you the following: I did talk to Angela Merkel, and I did meet with her, I also met and talked with Macron, and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions," he said, according to the transcript.