Ukraine president says Trump didn't seek to blackmail him

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky during a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, on Oct 1, 2019.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky during a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, on Oct 1, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

KIEV (REUTERS) - Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday (Oct 10) that United States President Donald Trump did not seek to blackmail him during a phone call in July or a meeting in September.

Mr Zelensky told reporters that his aim in having a phone call with Mr Trump was to arrange a subsequent meeting and that he had asked the White House to change its rhetoric on Ukraine. "I told him: look at us, do we look like corrupt people?" Mr Zelensky said.

The US House of Representatives has launched an impeachment inquiry against Mr Trump, focused on whether he used congressionally approved aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Mr Zelensky to investigate former vice-president Joe Biden, one of Mr Trump's main Democratic rivals as he seeks re-election in 2020.