Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told reporters on Thursday, Oct. 10, that there was “no blackmail” in the July phone call with President Trump amid Democrats’ attempts to oust the U.S. president on the basis of the conversation.
Congressional Democrats accused Trump of holding up military aid to use as leverage to pressure Ukraine for personal and political interests, such as coercing Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden before the 2020 presidential election, but Trump denied all these allegations.
President Zelenskiy too, denied this accusation at a news conference in Kyiv on Thursday.
“There was no blackmail,” Zelenskiy said. “They blocked this money and nobody asked us [for] anything,”
The purpose of the conversation, according to Zelenskiy, was to simply arrange a meeting with Trump, and there were no “conditions” from the American side, BBC reports.
Zelenskiy also noted that he does not believe U.S.-Ukraine relations will be affected in any way by the impeachment inquiry.
“This should immediately end the talk of impeachment!” President Trump said after the Ukrainian president denied any wrongdoing regarding the phone call.
President Trump rejected the whistleblower’s claims, while the military aid described in the call was later released to Ukraine.
The White House, with the belief that the Democrats’ impeachment efforts are unconstitutional, refused to cooperate and sent an eight-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday addressing the issue.
“President Trump and his administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process,” the letter read. “Your unprecedented actions have left the president with no choice.”
“In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch, and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances,” the letter continued.
“We just wanted to establish relations,” the Ukrainian president said, adding, “The story with Burisma has nothing to do with weapons.”
As for the whistleblower whose complaint was the driving force of the impeachment inquiry, he or she allegedly had a “prior working relationship with a current 2020 Democratic contender” and is a registered Democrat, according to CBS News.
The whistleblower’s identity however, remains unknown, though U.S. media reported that the official works for the CIA.