Ukraine leader says ‘no blackmail’ in Trump call

Ukraine’s president says ‘no blackmail’ in Trump call 10 October 2019 Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with Email Share this with Facebook Share this with WhatsApp Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share Share this with These are external links and will open in…

Ukraine’s president says ‘no blackmail’ in Trump call

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with journalists during a press marathon on Kiev"s Food Market venue in Kiev, Ukraine, 10 October 2019 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has denied being blackmailed

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said there was “no blackmail” in a phone call with Donald Trump that is at the heart of a possible attempt to remove the US president from office.

“This is not corruption, it was just a call,” Mr Zelensky said on Thursday.

The call prompted a whistleblower complaint and Democratic impeachment inquiry of the Republican president.

Mr Trump denies withholding US aid while pressuring Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference in Kiev on Thursday, Mr Zelensky said of his 25 July call with Mr Trump: “There was no blackmail. It was not the subject of our conversation.”

He said the purpose of the conversation was to arrange a meeting with Trump, and there were no “conditions” from the US side.

A rough transcript of the call released by the White House shows Mr Trump asked Mr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, now a Democratic frontrunner for next year’s White House election.

His son, Hunter Biden, landed a lucrative board position in 2014 with a Ukrainian gas firm that found itself under scrutiny from a former prosecutor general.

As US vice-president Mr Biden, like other Western officials, put pressure on Ukraine in 2016 to have the prosecutor fired, citing corruption concerns.

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