'There was no blackmail': Volodymyr Zelensky weighs in on impeachment discussion

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United States national security officials complained about President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine both before his phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky and immediately after it, The Washington Post newspaper has reported.

Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry in Congress believe Trump held up the aid to use it as leverage to pressure Ukraine and advance his domestic political interests.

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

"The absence of any clear action by Eisenberg or others may have contributed to decisions by White House insiders to relay their concerns to a CIA employee who assembled the information they supplied into a whistleblower complaint that he submitted August 12 to the USA intelligence community's inspector general", the Post explains.

Asked whether the Ukrainian version matched up to the USA one, Mr Zelensky said: "I didn't even check, but I think that it matches completely".

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.

He said he thought the July call would lead to an in-person meeting with Trump, and wanted the American leader to come to Ukraine.

The White House has published its summary of the call between Zelenskiy and Trump.

Zelenskiy said there were no conditions attached to him meeting Trump, including whether he should investigate the activities of Hunter at Burisma.

Ukraine's president just can't stop talking. All but US$30-million of the USA aid was released in mid-September. After nine hours, the 41-year-old president was still going strong. But the impeachment hearings mean that Ukraine will remain a central player in the US drama through the 2020 presidential election and beyond.

Berman says the men asked a USA congressman to help remove the American Ambassador to Ukraine. "I'm not ready to lose the lives of more people", he said.

While responding to Trump's requests, Zelenskiy insisted he was not his puppet, and he appeared to be trying to put an end to questions that have dogged the new Ukrainian president since details of his July 25 call with Trump emerged. Mr. Zelensky has been accused by Ukrainian analysts of letting Mr. Trump push him around on the call.

And Zelenskiy was still talking. "I will choose the way that I speak to the President of the Russian Federation".

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