Kiev — “You are absolutely right. Not only 100% but actually 1,000%.” The fawning tone of Volodymyr Zelensky’s July telephone conversation with Donald Trump provided an embarrassing snapshot of a neophyte leader desperate to curry favour with a US president.

But as the scandal about Trump’s alleged coercion of an ally to rake up dirt on one of his political opponents consumes Washington, Ukraine’s new president looks a good deal more resilient as he tries to stay above the fray and deliver on his sweeping mandate to overhaul his country.

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