Zelensky calls U.S. riots "strong blow" to democracy / Photo from president.gov.ua

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he was "shocked" by the pro-Trump mob storming the U.S. Capitol, saying he never imagined this could happen in America and that it harms U.S. efforts to promote democracy abroad.

"We are used to believing that the United States has the ideal democratic institutions, where power is transferred calmly. ... In Ukraine, we lived through two revolutions ... we understood such things can happen in the world. But that it could happen in the United States? No one expected that ... I was very worried … I did not want you to have a coup," he said through an interpreter in an interview to Axios on HBO at his presidential office.

"After something like this, I believe it would be very difficult for the world to see the United States as a symbol of democracy," Zelensky said.

Trump's impeachment

  • On January 13, the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress voted to impeach the then U.S. President Donald Trump. He is accused of inciting riots and the storming of the Capitol building, which took place on January 6 during debates on the presidential election results.
  • On January 6, hundreds of Trump supporters breached the Capitol building of the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C., where the meeting was being held to officially affirm Joe Biden's election win.
  • The meeting was interrupted after a number of protesters broke through cordons and rushed into the building. It was resumed only a few hours later. By the morning of January 7, Congress affirmed Biden's win.
  • Trump is the only president to have been impeached by the House of Representatives twice and the first to face a trial after leaving power, with the possibility of being disqualified from future public office if convicted by two-thirds of the Senate.