Ukrainian FM denies pressure on Zelensky during phone call with Trump
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko has denied that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky experienced pressure during his phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump in late July.
"If anyone thinks that our president experienced some kind of pressure, they need to be more specific. I am aware of the call, but I do not think there was any pressure. There are different kinds of talks, and the leaders are entitled to discuss all existent problems. It was a long and friendly conversation, and numerous issues were addressed,'' Prystaiko said in an interview with the media outlet Hromadske.
Attempts to draw Ukraine into a confrontation and claims that "Ukraine was backing the Democrats and did not want Trump to be president result from a deficiency of information," he said.
"People dealing with Ukraine-U.S. relations know that we have always appreciated the assistance of both parties. This guarantees that priorities in our relations with the United States will not change in the case of election of a new administration. It is true that U.S. presidents have been backing us, and we value the support of Congress. But that does not mean that we wanted to help or were even theoretically able to help either party," Prystaiko said.
Ukraine is an independent state, "which has its secrets," he said. "The president has the right to speak with another president in a way that would keep their conversation secret. This is the only condition, considering that the leaders are sharing important information, some of which may be sensitive. U.S. investigators have the right to inquire after and receive that information in the United States," Prystaiko said.
As regards a meeting between Zelensky's aide Andriy Yermak and Trump's private lawyer Rudolph Giuliani in July, Prystaiko said there was nothing surprising about that. "Yermak is a lawyer, too. I do not think there is a contradiction here. He is a presidential advisor and aide. It is normal to use a less formal mechanism than the Foreign Ministry for exercising certain powers or dealing with certain issues, everyone does that. The only thing that makes our situation different from many others is that we maintain close contact with Andriy Yermak," he said.