Ukraine president claims “no blackmail” in Trump call

Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has stated that there was “no blackmail” involved in the phone call between him and US President Donald Trump which took place on the 25th of July. According to the Ukrainian leader he had “no idea the military aid was held up” in regards to the decision by Mr Trump to withhold promised military aid to the eastern European country.

The political situation in the U.S. has plunged further into chaos as the 24th September saw an Impeachment Enquiry launched against Donald Trump after insider sources accused the President of pressuring Ukrainian authorities to investigate the business activities of a company with ties to Hunter Biden, son of 2020 democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The details of the conversation were initially revealed by a whistle-blower, reportedly a former security agent, and were later confirmed by a partial transcript of the call released by the White House on the 25th September. In the transcript, Trump suggests to Zelensky the possibility of opening an investigation on Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian business Hunter Biden worked for.

Burisma Holdings is an independent Ukrainian gas company previously linked to corrupt officials from the old pro-Russian government. Trump aims to argue that Biden used his position as Vice-President to force a corrupt Burisma board member out before his son could be involved in the investigation.

To make things more complicated, Mr Trump had issued orders to withhold military aid payments of $392 million to Ukraine just a week before the phone call. This situation suggests the American President is using promised military aid to a nation at war as hostage until an investigation on a political opponent is launched. These accusations found firmer ground after Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, stated that if Mr Trump did leverage the military aid for political benefit, there wouldn’t be any wrongdoing.

Theoretically, if Trump gets his investigation, he would be employing a foreign country to influence the 2020 election while exploiting the situation of a country fighting against Russian backed rebels. So far, President Trump has called the allegations and the process that they started a “witch hunt” and a “giant scam”. So far, there has been little international commentary on the matter, with the heat coming mainly from US politicians and celebrities. However, the former pro-Russian Ukrainian president has expressed support for the investigation into Biden.

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Marco Rizzo

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August 2022
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