The Ukraine Situation: A Timeline and What We Know

By now, everyone has likely heard some rumbling regarding Ukraine and President Donald Trump. The situation has taken over headlines and Apple News notifications but with all the new information coming in every day, it becomes increasingly difficult to navigate to the bottom of this situation and learn why international relations with Ukraine could potentially lead to an impeachment hearing. 

Let’s start in 2014. Hunter Biden, son of then-Vice President Joe Biden, became part of the board for Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company. Burisma Holdings was co-founded by Mykola Zlochevsky, a polarizing Ukrainian figure who fled Ukraine that same year amidst allegations that he was illegally lining his own pockets while holding public office. 

Courtesy: NY Mag

In 2015, Geoffrey Pyatt, the United States ambassador to Ukraine, began to speak against Ukraine Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. Shokin was seen as an obstacle in the way of reforming Ukrainian corruption because of his failure to prosecute corruption cases. Pyatt made claims that Shokin doesn’t “successfully fight internal corruption.” Pyatt’s sentiment resonated with many, civilian and dignitary alike, thus beginning a campaign to remove Viktor Shokin from his position. This campaign found additional solidarity when Vice President Joe Biden urged Ukrainian leadership to oust Shokin or lose over $1 billion in loan guarantees. The anti-Shokin movement found a second wind with many world leaders standing behind Pyatt, and then Biden. During this time, Hunter Biden still sat on the board for Burisma Holdings. 

From 2016 to 2018, tensions rose. The International Money Fund threatened to withhold a bailout program for Ukraine unless the country’s leadership found a way to address and handle the festering corruption issues. Also, Shokin is removed from his position by the Ukrainian parliament, with Yuriy Lutsenko taking place as his successor. Probes into Burisma Holdings are completed and sealed, but there is one sale that remains to be investigated by Lutsenko. At this point, Joe Biden is boasting about having the upper hand against Ukraine and being able to leverage the $1 billion, in loans, for Ukrainian officials to begin adopting a more anti-corruption approach. Tensions soar when Ukraine pulled out of helping Robert Mueller investigations due to fear that their assistance will deteriorate their relationship with President Trump. Following this, Senators reached out to Ukrainian officials to explain the gravity of the Mueller probe and why they required assistance from Ukraine. 

This timeline brings us to 2019.

Earlier this year, Prosecutor Lutsenko claimed that the new United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, sent over a list of people who should not be prosecuted by any means. This statement was vehemently denied by the Department of State, but not before President Trump had a chance to promote the Fox News article. Shortly after this, Hunter Biden’s term as a board member of Burisma Holdings ends and he separates from the company. 

In April of 2019, Mueller released his report investigating Russian interference in the 2020 election, and Lutsenko retracted his statement regarding the “do not prosecute list” from Marie Yovanovitch. Current Ukrainian president, Volodydymr Zelensky, was sworn in and President Trump offered his congratulations. After this, Marie Yovanovitch was recalled as a U.S. ambassador in what has been referred to as a "political hit job" by top Democratic leaders.

Courtesy: President of Ukraine

In May of 2019, Rudolph Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, spoke to an anti-corruption prosecutor who allegedly stated that the investigation into Burisma Holdings should be reopened. Giuliani states he will travel back to Ukraine to push for further investigation, “because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.” This trip was suddenly cancelled due to the implications of travelling to seek damaging information about a top political opponent from a foreign government. Essentially, legislators and the media broadcasted that this is another attempt to have a foreign power interfere in the United States' democratic process.

After this, Lutsenko states there has been no wrongdoing on behalf of the Biden’s. In an interview with Fox News, President Trump said, “Biden, he calls them and says ‘Don’t you dare persecute, if you don’t fire this prosecutor’ — The prosecutor was after his son.” Then he states, “If you fire the prosecutor, you’ll be okay. And if you don’t fire the prosecutor, 'we’re not giving you $2 billion in loan guarantees,’ or whatever he was supposed to give. Can you imagine if I did that?” At this point, when Biden withheld the loan, the Burisma investigation was dormant, and there is no recorded evidence that it had anything to do with the Biden’s. 

you $2 billion in loan guarantees,’ or whatever he was supposed to give. Can you imagine if I did that?” At this point, when Biden withheld the loan, the Burisma investigation was dormant, and there is no recorded evidence that it had anything to do with the Biden’s. 

In a July 25 phone call, President Trump says this to Volodydymr Zelensky: The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news, and the people she was dealing with in Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that…well, she’s going to go through some things.

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