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Zelensky waits to address the UN General Assembly. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A summary of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky released by the White House Wednesday reveals Zelensky’s efforts to flatter and ingratiate himself with his American counterpart.

What he's saying: Zelensky, a newcomer to politics who took office in May, said some credit for his landslide victory was due to "skills and knowledge" he had picked up from observing Trump. Zelensky also called Trump a "great teacher" for his own efforts to "drain the swamp" in Ukraine. He also made a point to note he had stayed at Trump Tower on a recent visit to New York.

Why it matters: U.S. support is crucial to Ukraine, which has relied on American military aid in its war with Russian-backed separatists. Trump froze that aid in advance of his call with Zelensky, from whom he made multiple requests in the call. One of those requests involved investigating Trump and Rudy Giuliani's unsupported claims that Joe Biden "stopped the prosecution" of a Ukrainian case that involved his son, Hunter.

Worth noting: The contents of the memo may raise an eyebrow or two in Europe. When Trump said the U.S. was helping Ukraine far more than Germany and the EU help, Zelensky replied: "You are absolutely right. Not only 100%, but actually 1000%."

What to watch: The two presidents are set to meet this afternoon at the UN

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 9 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.

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