US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland testified before the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress; he explained how President Trump's relations with the new Ukrainian government shaped and evolved.
"During nearly nine hours of testimony, Sondland said he reluctantly indulged what he described as the president’s efforts to run Ukraine policy through his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. He indicated that he opposed Trump’s orders to reach out to Giuliani, who was pushing the Ukrainian government to investigate Trump’s political rivals", Politico wrote.
Sondland said that when he visited the inauguration of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in May 2019, he got quite positive image of him and his declared efforts to fight corruption and involve Western investments. The U.S. delegation told President Trump it was strategically important to develop relations with Ukraine and Zelensky. However, the American leader was skeptic about Zelensky's intentions to fight corruption, and sent the diplomats to talk to Giuliani on this matter. At that, Sondland realized it was up to the lawyer whether Trump would change his stance towards Ukraine's government.
In July 2019, Sondland joined the meeting of members of Ukraine's National Secutiry and Defense Council and the U.S. National Security Council. The U.S. side did not support the idea of direct phone talks between the two Presidents, while Sondland, U.S. Special Representative in Ukraine Kurt Volker and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry supported this initiative.
The talks actually happened on July 25; Sondland was absent durting the call, and he never saw any articles about the negotiations until they were published in September.
The U.S. diplomat expressed his confidence that Ukraine is "not a dirty word". “Ukraine is a fragile democracy fighting against a brutal and unscrupulous Russian neighbor,” he said. “A strong Ukraine helps to uphold the norms that maintain stability and promote prosperity around the world,” Sondland concluded.