What impact will Trump-Zelensky phone call have?

After the publication of the protocol of the incriminating phone conversation between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the two leaders have come under fire in their countries. Commentators examine the repercussions on bilateral and international relations from various standpoints.

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gazeta.ru (RU) /

US president will give Ukraine a wide berth

Trump will stay out of the Donbass conflict for the time being, Gazeta.ru suspects:

“Trump would do well not to show too much activity in matters related to Kiev for now. Because whatever he says or does will be used against him by the Democrats in their impeachment frenzy. ... For his part Trump has discretely sent Zelensky in a direction he clearly didn't want to be sent in, namely towards Vladimir Putin. Trump expressed the hope that the Ukrainian and Russian presidents would meet, talk things over, and as Trump said, 'solve your problem'. Meaning: 'your' Russo-Ukrainian problem and not 'our' American one.”

Ukrayinska Pravda (UA) /

Good relations with the US will continue

The bilateral relations between the two countries shouldn't depend on just two people, writes historian Volodymyr Dubovyk, Director of the Center for International Studies at Odessa State University, on Ukrayinska Pravda:

“Ukraine is interested in continuing the cooperation. As is a large and influential part of the US establishment and the US government. Our relations are more than just relations with Trump, they're ties with the country as a whole. President Trump will certainly not dare to put any further pressure on Ukraine, at least not openly. ... So Ukrainian policy will remain in the capable hands of those who consider Ukraine's support something important which is in line with American interests.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

America no longer a role model

The US has lost its role model status when it comes to the rule of law, historian Anne Applebaum observes in Gazeta Wyborcza:

“For almost 30 years people in the West and America have been talking about equality, the courts and democracy. A lot of time and money has been put into judicial workshops and seminars on constitutionality. And now it turns out that the critics, cynics, authoritarian rulers and corrupt politicians who bend the law in their favour are being proven right. America is no longer a role model: from the point of view of the rule of law it's a disaster. For months its president tried to convince the Ukrainian leader to go back to Soviet-style operations, to politicise the judiciary and exert pressure on the public prosecutors.”

Strana (UA) /

President just dithering

Website strana.ua analyses what Zelensky said during the phone call:

“It's notable that Zelensky takes up every proposition put forward by Trump and comments on it in detail. And with a completely approving undertone. ... At times Zelensky was over-friendly, even submissive, taking up every one of his conversation partner's thoughts and even calling Trump his 'great teacher'. ... But much of what Zelensky promised to Trump hasn't happened. ... And it also looks like Zelensky isn't heeding Trump's advice. ... That's probably why the meeting in Poland scheduled for 1 September was cancelled, and also why Zelensky hasn't yet made an official visit to Washington.”

Polityka (PL) /

Zelensky should shut up

Zelensky must make sure the affair doesn't have negative consequences for him, Polityka writes:

“Trump is focused on the election and securing a second term in office. This is the only thing he's fighting for and for which he would sacrifice many things, including the integrity of another country if necessary. ... What does he care about Ukraine, this weak country in Europe? ... Zelensky, unlike Trump, is not an experienced player but a newcomer. He was still an actor only yesterday. He was dumbfounded by his election victory, and when Trump calls him up he even believes he can influence the course of big politics and play on equal terms. The important people back him, he thinks. He's talking his head off now because he doesn't know the rules of diplomatic discourse. He talks about Trump being his role model and about what a friend of America and the US president he is.”

Echo of Moscow (RU) /

Ukraine doesn't exist for Trump

In a radio interview with Echo of Moscow the Ukrainian journalist Alexei Solomin says he doesn't think Ukraine is very important for the US president:

“Zelensky only recently became president. ... But if his telephone conversation leads to the launch of impeachment proceedings against President Trump Zelensky will go down in the annals of world history. ... I think that if it was up to Trump he would have buried the Ukraine issue long ago, because in my opinion Ukraine doesn't even exist for him. He finds it extremely pleasant to have dealings with Vladimir Putin.”