Ukraine president: ‘No blackmail’ in conversation with Trump

Ukraine president: ‘No blackmail’ in conversation with Trump

Ukraine president: ‘No blackmail’ in conversation with Trump

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says there was "no blackmail" in a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump that helped spark an impeachment inquiry.

Zelensky said he was aware that the USA was withholding $400 million in military aid because of concerns about the money. Asked whether the Ukrainian version matched up to the US one, Zelenskiy said: "I didn't even check, but I think that it matches completely".

Zelensky told reporters Thursday in response to the White House's release of the phone's transcript.

"And after our meeting, America unblocked the aid".

Volodymyr Zelenskiy said for the first time that his country will "happily" investigate the conspiracy theory pushed by Trump that it was Ukrainians, not Russians, who interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.

Mr. Zelensky - tieless in a dark grey suit - said he would be willing to open a "joint investigation" into Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that in 2014 hired Hunter Biden onto its board of directors.

Zelenskiy is giving an all-day "press marathon" amid growing questions about his actions as president. But the impeachment hearings mean that Ukraine will remain a central player in the USA drama through the 2020 presidential election and beyond.

The 41-year-old president reacted with surprise, saying he was a "modest" person and averse to celebrations.

"I don't want to be pulled into this because I understand that my words could impact the elections of the American people", he said.

Berman says the men asked a United States congressman to help remove the American Ambassador to Ukraine.

Another recurring topic was Mr. Zelensky's effort to pursue a peace deal with the Russian-backed separatists who control the Donbas region of southeastern Ukraine.

He added that the call was about arranging a meeting with Trump.

The July call embarrassed Zelenskiy because it showed him as eager to please Trump and critical of European partners whose support he needs to strengthen Ukraine's economy and to end the conflict with Russian Federation.

Trump tweeted Thursday that Zelenskiy's comment that there was no blackmail during the July call "should immediately end the talk of impeachment!"

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