Ukraine Foreign Minister on Trump/Zelensky Call: No Direct Order to Investigate Bidens, No Link to Military Aid

President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Ukraine Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told the BBC on Tuesday that President Donald Trump did not order Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and that Trump did not threaten to withhold foreign aid, in a phone call between the two leaders in July.

When the BBC radio host asked Prystaiko what he knew about the phone call that sparked the Democrats impeachment inquiry into Trump, he said he knew “quite enough” and “heard it myself.”

“So I can’t agree with what you said that the president mentioned this … that he would like us to investigate,” Prystaiko said. 

Instead, Prystaiko said Trump said on the call, “If I were you I would instigate each and every corruption case.”

“So it wasn’t a direct order as some are trying to picture,” said Prystaiko, who was the deputy foreign minister but is not the country’s foreign minister.

The BBC host then asked Prystaiko to confirm that he was saying that Trump did not order an investigation into the Bidens.

“There’s no blackmail here,” Prystaiko said.

Prystaiko also spoke with the BBC about the allegation that Trump threatened to withhold military aid if Ukraine didn’t cooperate with the president’s alleged request for an investigation into the Bidens’ dealings in the country.

“The military aid never was mentioned in the telephone call,” Prystaiko said, adding that the aid was granted “without any investigation started.”

“So there’s no direct link and it was not that directly said by President Trump,” Prystaiko said.

Prystaiko said that Ukraine gets funding from both the State Department and the Pentagon, evaluation of that aid is done every year, and negotiations about the latest aid had been going on for close to a year.

He also said Ukraine doesn’t want to be involved in politics.

“We’ve been sucked into the internal politics of the United States, which we want to stay away from,” Prystaiko said.

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