Who Is Alexander Vindman? A Ukrainian Refugee Who Rose to the White House

In 1998, Alexander Vindman graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He received his military commission from Cornell University, completed basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1999, and deployed to South Korea, where he led infantry and anti-armor platoons, the following year.

In his testimony, the colonel plans to mention his “multiple overseas tours,” including in South Korea and Germany, and a 2003 combat deployment to Iraq that left him wounded by a roadside bomb, for which he was awarded a Purple Heart.

Since 2008, he has been an Army foreign area officer — an expert in political-military operations — specializing in Eurasia. Colonel Vindman has a master’s degree from Harvard in Russian, Eastern Europe and Central Asian Studies. He has served in the United States’ embassies in Kiev, Ukraine, and in Moscow, and was the officer specializing in Russia for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before joining the National Security Council in 2018.

By this spring, he said in his prepared opening statement, he became troubled by what he described as efforts by “outside influencers” to create “a false narrative” about Ukraine. Documents reviewed by The New York Times suggest the reference is to Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, and his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and implicate Ukraine, rather than Russia, in interfering with the 2016 elections.

In May, a month after Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine in a landslide victory, Mr. Trump asked the colonel to join Energy Secretary Rick Perry to travel to Ukraine to attend the new president’s inauguration.

By July, Colonel Vindman had grown deeply concerned that administration officials were pressuring Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden. That concern only intensified, he said in his opening statement, when he listened in to the now-famous July 25 phone conversation between Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Trump.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen,” his testimony said, “and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

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