While members of Congress debate whether President Trump should be impeached over his dealings with Ukraine, the country’s president Volodymyr Zelensky — himself a central figure in the proceedings — is meeting for the first time with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris.
The talks, which are meant to find a way to end the nearly six-year war in eastern Ukraine, are a notable backdrop to the impeachment proceedings. They started as the hearing was nearing its second hour.
Why this matters: They are a reminder the “hot war” underway in Ukraine is still happening, even as global interests and attentions stray. That includes by Trump himself: witnesses recounted during the proceedings that Trump’s primary interest in Ukraine was its potential to help him politically and not its dispute with Russia.
The meeting is also a reminder of why Zelensky was so intent on maintaining US aid to his country, even if it meant going along with Trump’s requests to launch politically motivated investigations. The military aid that was on hold over the summer was both a symbol of US support for Ukraine and a real boost to its efforts at countering Russia.
The situation on the ground in Ukraine has been a subtext to the impeachment hearings, not their focus. But the war there, and its geopolitical ramifications, have nonetheless informed much of the testimony and the suggestions of wrongdoing by the President.