Ukraine’s Zelensky: ‘No Blackmail’ in Telephone Call with Trump

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks with journalists in Kyiv Ukraine on Oct. 10 2019. Zelenskiy held an all-day “media marathon” in a food court amid questions about his actions as president and on-again off-again U.S. military aid

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

The US House of Representatives has launched an impeachment inquiry against Mr Trump, focused on whether he used congressionally approved aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Mr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

For the past several months, the Trump White House has pushed the authorities in Kyiv to investigate Burisma Group, a big gas-production company, and the role there of Hunter Biden, who served on its board, along with actions of Mr. Biden when he was overseeing USA policy toward Ukraine. "I had no idea the military aid was held up".

Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that there was "no blackmail" involved in the call he had with Trump.

Zelenskiy said the US has not provided any details of such interference. None of the previous investigations apply to the period when Hunter Biden was serving on Burisma's board.

Responding Thursday to questions from The Associated Press, Zelenskiy said that he only learned after their July 25 phone call that the us had blocked hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine. "After the meeting, America unblocked it".

Fiona Hill, who was until recently President Donald Trump's top aide on Russian Federation and Europe, plans to tell Congress that Rudy Giuliani and European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland circumvented the National Security Council and the normal White House process to pursue a shadow policy on Ukraine, a person familiar with her expected testimony told NBC News.

After the record-setting media day - during which Mr. Zelensky took only 10-minute breaks between sessions with journalists - the Ukrainian President can now claim to have answered all the questions the world's media could throw at him (albeit in a format that ensured he'd be asked the same questions repeatedly, allowing him to give the same answers again and again). Zelenskiy appears to be playing to both United States 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 US while trying to make peace with powerful neighbor Russian Federation.

Ukraine, France and Germany had planned to hold the meeting of the group known as the Normandy Four, aimed at resolving the five-year-long conflict, as early as last month, Zelenskiy told reporters, but Russian Federation turned down the proposal.

Asked what Ukraine did to persuade the release the aid, Zelenskiy said: "We have many diplomatic contacts". "I'm not ready to lose the lives of more people", he said.

It appears to be some of these White House officials who first alerted the whistleblower who started off this process of what was going on with the July phone call and other matters related to Ukraine. "It was not the subject of our conversation".

Trump has called on both China and Ukraine to probe the Bidens, a request China rejected this week.



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