Ukraine's president says 'no blackmail' in Trump call

Evarado Alatorre
Octubre 12, 2019

Zelensky said he does not intend to release the Ukrainian transcript of his phone call with President Trump.

The former comedian who won a massive victory in the Ukrainian elections in April despite having no political experience has tried to distance himself from the political battle brewing in Washington where the US House of Representatives has launched an impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Ukraine's top prosecutor last week said his office would review several cases related to the owner of the gas company where Hunter Biden sat on the board, and Zelenskiy on Thursday invited USA and Ukrainian prosecutors to co-operate, but insisted he would not interfere. "I had no idea the military aid was held up".

"They blocked this money and nobody asked us [for] anything", Zelensky said on Wednesday, referring to the aid, which was eventually delivered.

Zelensky said he wasn't even aware that almost $400 million was being held up when he spoke to Trump on July 25. None of the previous investigations apply to the period when Hunter Biden was serving on Burisma's board.

"This is not corruption, it was just a call", Mr Zelensky said on Thursday. "After the meeting, America unblocked it".

A whistleblower's report filed with the inspector general of the intelligence community first revealed the phone call, and the White House released a rough transcript of the conversation between the two leaders.

Asked whether the Ukrainian version matched up to the USA one, Mr Zelensky said: "I didn't even check, but I think that it matches completely". Questions are not screened in advance, and all participants are allowed to ask questions.

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Zelenskiy appears to be playing to both USA political camps to ensure Ukraine has continued support no matter who wins the presidential election next year.

He's treading carefully to ensure continued support from the United States while trying to make peace with powerful neighbor Russian Federation.

"I told him. please help to resolve it", Zelenskiy recalls. While Mr. Zelensky acknowledged regular contacts with the oligarch - Mr. Kolomoisky's former lawyer is Mr. Zelensky's chief of staff - he said that Mr. Kolomoisky knew that Mr. Zelensky would always put the national interests first.

"We have many criminal cases to look at". "This was not the subject of our conversation", he said.

The call has been cited as the reason Democrats started an impeachment inquiry.

Meanwhile, it is not immediately clear if the individuals who had complained to John Eisenberg were the same ones (at least some of them) who talked to the whistleblower, an alleged Central Intelligence Agency official who launched a complaint over the content of the phone call prompting formal anti-Trump impeachment proceedings, which POTUS branded Thursday "a Democrat scam".

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