Ukraine president says Trump didn’t seek to blackmail him

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacts during a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump did not seek to blackmail him during a phone call in July or a meeting in September.

Zelenskiy told reporters that his aim in having a phone call with Trump was to arrange a subsequent meeting and that he had asked the White House to change its rhetoric on Ukraine. “I told him: look at us, do we look like corrupt people?” Zelenskiy said.

The U.S. House of Representatives has launched an impeachment inquiry against Trump, focused on whether he used congressionally approved aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of Trump’s main Democratic rivals as he seeks re-election in 2020.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Natalia Zinets and Matthias Williams, writing by Maria Tsvetkova; editing by John Stonestreet



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