‘No blackmail’ in conversation with Donald Trump, say Ukraine president

Volodymyr Zelenskiy with Donald Trump

Volodymyr Zelenskiy with Donald Trump

Mr Zelensky said he had not known that U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been blocked at the time of the call.

At a rally in Minnesota last night, Mr Trump said the investigation was a brazen attempt to overthrow the Government and would result in a political backlash against Democrats at the ballot box.

The Post's report does not shed any light on whether any of these four national security officials were a source for the first whistleblower, now known to be a Central Intelligence Agency official assigned to the White House.

Zelenskiy wouldn't say whether the Ukrainians have a different version of the transcript or whether the White House version accurately reflects the content of the leaders' conversation. There was no blackmail'.

But new details about the sequence inside the White House suggest that concerns about the call and events leading up to it were profound even among Trump's top advisers, including Bolton and then-acting deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman.

Trump said the military aid was frozen because of concerns about corruption in Ukraine, but the move prompted congressional outcry and the money was released in September. They accused President Trump of threatening to cut aid to Ukraine (which POTUS actually did in May) if Kiev doesn't provide assistance in investigating the dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine, where Hunter was employed as a board member of natural gas company Burisma Holdings.

Asked what Ukraine did to persuade the U.S. to release the aid, Zelenskiy said: 'We have many diplomatic contacts. "And in case we need to find a solution to questions of this level, questions about our country's security, we use all our powerful possibilities".

Mr Zelenskiy said the USA has not provided any details of such interference. 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.

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He tried to back away from a comment attributed to him in the White House transcript of the call, in which Mr. Zelensky is quoted saying that Ukraine's new prosecutor-general would be "100 per cent my guy" and would look into the Burisma case.

Mr. Zelensky said on Thursday that he had felt no pressure and "no blackmail" during his conversation with Mr. Trump - an answer that Mr. Trump immediately posted on his Twitter account, claiming it exonerated him.

"We will continue to talk to witnesses, not withstanding the administration's consistent efforts to obstruct our investigation", he added.

As some 300 journalists took turns at Zelenskiy's table, no question was off limits: his awkward phone call with Donald Trump, his ties to oligarchs, his troubled peace plan for eastern Ukraine. "We are an independent country, we have relations with many countries", not just the U.S.

At one point, the 41-year-old former comedian appeared to accuse reporters of trying to trick him into an answer that would make headlines in the U.S.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy's aptly named "media marathon" in a Kyiv food court Thursday started over breakfast croissants.

Zelensky said he wasn't even aware that almost $400 million was being held up when he spoke to Trump on July 25. No evidence of such a plot has emerged.

Asked what Ukraine did to persuade the U.S.to release the aid, Zelenskiy said: "We have many diplomatic contacts".

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