Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denied Thursday that Donald Trump tried to blackmail him by withholding military aid to Kyiv in a phone call between the two leaders.
“There was no blackmail,” the comedian-turned-politician told a news conference. A transcript of the phone conversation showed Trump asked Zelensky to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden.
The US president’s request that Zelensky probe the activities of Joe Biden’s son Hunter has sparked an impeachment probe in the US, with the Democrats looking into whether Trump used a delayed aid package as leverage.
Trump wanted Kyiv to investigate Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukrainian gas firm Burisma. “The story with Burisma has nothing to do with weapons,” Zelensky told the press conference, held in a Kyiv food court.
The sole aim of the phone call, he said, was to plan a meeting with Trump. He added that there were no “conditions” from the US side to set up the meeting.”We just wanted to establish relations,” he said.