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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 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.

Mike Allen, author of AM
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

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