Newsweek reported Wednesday that after securing deadly weapons from the Trump administration, Ukraine ceased its cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
An anti-corruption investigation in Ukraine was shut down as well.
President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort has been ensnared in the ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign collaborated with Russians to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Manafort has been accused of money laundering and failing to accurately register as a foreign agent, among other charges. At the heart of the matter is Manafort’s work with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.
In addition to the Mueller probe, anti-corruption investigators in Kiev had been looking into suspicious payments Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych—a pro-Russian figure who was driven out of the country by pro-Western protesters in 2014—had made to Manafort and a U.S. law firm. Several anti-corruption activists and journalists in Ukraine said they suspected Yanukovych had used stolen taxpayer money to pay Manafort.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that Ukrainian officials are likely trying to appease Trump in an effort to obtain financial and military assistance from the U.S. in their fight against Russia.
Volodymyr Ariev, a member of Parliament who is an ally of President Petro O. Poroshenko, readily acknowledged that the intention in Kiev was to put investigations into Mr. Manafort’s activities “in the long-term box.”
“In every possible way, we will avoid irritating the top American officials,” Mr. Ariev said in an interview. “We shouldn’t spoil relations with the administration.”
Poroshenko heaped praise upon Trump on social media after the deal was finalized:
"I am sincerely grateful for the fair decision of Donald Trump in support of Ukraine, in defense of freedom and democracy," Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page last week. "Washington not only fulfilled our joint agreement, it demonstrated leadership and an important example."