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

Ukraine to investigate potential 2016 US election interference

Trump asked Zelenskiy during the call to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, and Congressional Democrats believe Trump was holding up the aid to use as leverage to pressure Ukraine. Mr. Zelensky, who says he spoke in Ukrainian during the call, said the White House transcript inaccurately reflected his statement that the new prosecutor would be "a 100-per-cent honest man". "I said that we are not corrupt [regarding the Burisma investigation], that we are open to investigating all cases, and we we'll do it according to the law".

Mr Zelensky was asked repeatedly about his relations with the Trump administration while speaking to reporters at a news conference that lasted more than 14 hours at a food court in Kiev with rotating groups of reporters.

Zelensky said he does not intend to release the Ukrainian transcript of his phone call with President Trump.

"There was no blackmail", he said. "We are not servants. We are an independent country".

He flipped from Ukrainian to English and Russian.

Zelenskiy scored a major political victory last month when he successfully negotiated with Putin a major prisoner exchange, which saw 70 people - some of whom were imprisoned for several years - return home in Ukraine and Russian Federation, respectively.

But the deference Mr. Zelensky showed to Mr. Trump on the July 25 call raises questions about how he would fare in one-on-one negotiations with Mr. Putin, the former KGB agent who has ruled Russian Federation for two decades.

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.

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Zelensky said he "didn't even check" to determine whether his government's record of the call matched that of the White House's, but added "I think they match".

Mr Zelensky told reporters that Mr Trump did not seek to blackmail him during a phone call in July or a meeting in September.

Zelenskiy appears to be playing to both US political camps to ensure Ukraine has continued support no matter who wins the presidential election next year. On Thursday, he repeatedly stressed he had no interest in interfering in the US presidential election.

"I don't want to interfere in any way in the [U.S.] elections", he said.

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.

Trump also has pushed a long-discredited theory about Ukrainian interference in support of the Democrats in 2016, an attempt to cast doubt on Russia's role in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee. Ukrainian officials have said there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens.

Asked whether the Ukrainian version matched up to the United States one, Mr Zelensky said: "I didn't even check, but I think that it matches completely".

Zelensky told the AP he was simply hoping that the call with Trump would lead to a visit by Trump to Ukraine, and that he was hoping to persuade Trump to change the White House's rhetoric regarding Ukraine. Trump has denied that charge, but acknowledged he blocked the funds, later released.

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