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

Explainer How Trump used the U.S. government to chase conspiracy theories

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said there was "no blackmail" in a phone call with Donald Trump that is at the heart of a possible attempt to remove the USA president from office.

The recently-elected Ukrainian leader made the comments during an all-day "press marathon" held in a food court in the capital, Kyiv, where he took questions from dozens of local and global journalists.

House Democrats claim Trump dangled the military funds during the call to coerce Zelensky into launching an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter who worked for a Ukrainian natural gas firm.

Trump said the military aid was frozen because of concerns about corruption in Ukraine, but the move prompted congressional outcry and the money was released in September.

The elder Biden pressured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in 2016 to oust a top prosecutor who was probing Burisma, an energy company that paid Hunter Biden as a board member from 2014 to 2019.

"There was no blackmail".

Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that there was "no blackmail" involved in the call he had with Trump.

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

Amid growing controversy over the call between the two leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced last month that she was moving forward with a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump.

Zelenskiy said it was "wrong" of the White House to publish a rough transcript of the call and he will not publish the Ukrainian transcript.

Zelenskiy said Thursday that Ukraine would investigate the theory because otherwise we "can't say yes or no" as to whether there was any such interference.

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Asked what Ukraine did to persuade the U.S. to release the aid, Zelenskiy said: 'We have many diplomatic contacts.

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.

The accounts are sharply at odds with Trump's depiction of the call as a "perfect" exchange in which he "did nothing wrong", despite appearing to link USA support for Ukraine to that country's willingness to investigate the family of the former vice president.

'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.' He didn't elaborate.

He added that there were no "conditions" from the U.S. side to set up the meeting.

Recently disclosed text messages showed Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador in Ukraine, asking U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, "Are we now saying that security assistance and [a White House] meeting are conditioned on investigations?"

Ukraine's president just can't stop talking. He's treading carefully to ensure continued support from the US while trying to make peace with powerful neighbour Russian Federation.

At the same time, Trump is also pushing Ukraine to investigate any potential wrongdoing by the Bidens.

Trump has said the United States has an "absolute right" to ask foreign leaders to investigate corruption cases, though no one has produced evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the former US vice president or his son.

Zelensky has repeatedly emphasized that he felt no pressure during the call but in new remarks seemed to go further, specifically saying on October 10, "There was no blackmail".

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