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

Ukraine's president says 'no blackmail' in Trump call
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with journalists during a press marathon on KievImage copyright

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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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