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Zelenskiy says didn’t know US was withholding military aid ahead of Trump call

Volodymyr Zelensky at his campaign office in Kiev after the first round of the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election, on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Pyotr Sivkov/TASS/Zuma Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he didn’t know military aid from the United States had been held up before a phone call with President Donald Trump that is at the center of an impeachment inquiry.

Zelenskiy told a group of reporters during what his office is calling an “all-day marathon” news conference on October 10 that under the circumstances of the call, “there was no blackmail.”

“I had no idea the military aid was held up. When I did find out, I raised it with [Vice President Mike] Pence at a meeting in Warsaw,” he added.

Democrats in the House of Representatives have begun an investigation that could lead to the impeachment of Trump.

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The inquiry focuses on a July 25 call Trump made to his Ukrainian counterpart in which he asks Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter, who had business dealings in Ukraine.

Democrats claim Trump pressured Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens by threatening to withhold approved military aid.

Trump has denied he did anything wrong. There is no evidence that Biden was involved in any wrongdoing related to Ukraine.

Zelenskiy told the October 10 news conference that he didn’t think there were any conditions attached to him meeting Trump, including launching an investigation involving the Bidens.

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

When asked how the White House summary compared with that of Ukraine, Zelenskiy said he hadn’t checked but that he thought it matched “completely.”