Throughout the impeachment hearings, American military aid for Ukraine was portrayed as a way for a friendly giant to help a David fend off a staggering Goliath who, if not stopped, would continue his rampage. That’s the big picture.
The complex details of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and of the ways the Trump administration has failed Ukraine, were made clear when President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine held his first meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Monday.
The meeting, in Paris, hosted by President Emmanuel Macron of France and attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, was an attempt to revive a moribund peace process that began under French and German mediation in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, in 2015. Negotiations led to a plan for a cease-fire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons, the restoration of Ukrainian control of the border with Russia and increased autonomy for the areas under the control of separatists.
The process ground to a halt under Mr. Zelensky’s predecessor, but resolving the conflict was a major campaign pledge of the new president. This was the major reason he so urgently sought a meeting at the White House and saw little choice, as the world has learned, but to demean himself to get it when Mr. Trump demanded political favors.