Published: Sat, October 12, 2019

Ukraine's Zelenskiy sticks to criticism of Merkel, Macron in Trump call

Ukraine's Zelenskiy sticks to criticism of Merkel, Macron in Trump call

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky said during a "marathon" media session Thursday that he would "happily" investigate potential interference by Ukrainian and Democratic officials in the 2016 US election, according to the Associated Press. His actions are governed by the laws of another independent country.

Zelenskiy told reporters that Trump did not seek to blackmail him during a phone call in July or a meeting in September.

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

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.

Ukraine, France and Germany had planned to hold the meeting of the group known as the Normandy Four, aimed at resolving the five-year-long conflict, as early as last month, Zelenskiy told reporters, but Russian Federation turned down the proposal.

The order to move the transcript came from the White House's national security lawyers to prevent more people from seeing it, people familiar with the situation previously told CNN.

Putin said that Russian Federation is supportive of the initiatives to bring peace to the separatist-held eastern Ukraine where 13,000 people have died since 2014 but said it is up to Zelenskiy and the Ukrainian establishment to see through the accords. Zelenskiy appears to be playing to both U.S. political camps to ensure Ukraine has continued support no matter who wins the presidential election next year. But the pullback, originally scheduled for 7 October, has not happened yet because Ukraine accused the separatists of shelling its positions and said it would only withdraw after a straight week of full ceasefire observance. "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".

"I don't want to interfere in any way in the [U.S.] elections", he said.

Zelenskiy said the "key question" for him was to try to persuade the White House to "change its rhetoric" about Ukraine as a corrupt and untrustworthy country.

It appears to be some of these White House officials who first alerted the whistleblower who started off this process of what was going on with the July phone call and other matters related to Ukraine.

He also addressed other issues that have dogged the early months of his presidency, including his links to a controversial business tycoon, his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his attempts to end Ukraine's war against Russian-backed forces in the eastern Donbass region.

The security officials - at least four of them - raised their concerns with National Security Council legal advisor John Eisenberg, the Post said, citing USA officials and other people familiar with the matter. Ukrainian officials have said there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens. -Ukrainian relations in the future, "but if there is, we'll learn about it on Twitter".

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