The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that Ukraine has many domestic issues for the Prosecutor General's Office to handle and he never pushed for the Biden case to be singled out.
"I cannot pressure anyone, I did not call anyone, did not ask [for anything.] [Prosecutor General Rouslan] Riaboshapka should investigate all the cases, there were no promises [made.]," the president said during his joint press conference with his American counterpart Donald Trump.
This follows allegations that, during a July 25 phone call between Trump and recently elected Zelenskyy, Trump pressured his Ukrainian counterpart on starting investigations into a political rival, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden, currently a frontrunner in the upcoming 2020 U.S. president elections, had previously worked with the Ukrainian government after the 2013-2014 Maidan Revolution, as part of the Obama Administration, and boasted of his role in ousting then-Ukrainian General Prosecutor Viktor Shokin – the latter, in Trump's opinion, demonstrated Biden's corruptness. At the moment of Shokin's resignation, the Prosecutor General was allegedly investigating a Ukrainian gas company called Burisma where Biden's son Hunter held a well-paid position.
However, there is no evidence that Shokin was seriously investigating Burisma. In fact, Shokin was criticized by many anti-corruption activists for covering up for corruption cases and hampering reforms.
During the telephone conversation that was later made public by the White House, Trump asks Zelenskyy for a "favor" straight after the Ukrainian president thanks him for U.S.' help and expresses willingness to buy more Javelins from the country.
Zelenskyy, however, maintained during the press conference that, as a result of that call, he never asked for the Biden case to be at the top of the prosecutors' agenda as there are "many other, more important questions" in Ukraine.
"These are the cases important for every Ukrainian – the Ilovaisk [tragedy], Maidan [crimes], corruption that President Trump just mentioned, you know what [Riaboshapka] is working on right now," Zelenskyy said.
At his subsequent solo press conference, the president was also grilled with questions – mostly coming from Ukrainian journalists – about the controversy he found himself in.
Asked by Hromadske journalists whether he told the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Rouslan Riaboshapka, to investigate the Biden case specifically, Zelenskyy said "no."
"I believe in Riaboshapka's [capability] of resolving all the big cases – that's what I meant."
READ MORE: What Trump’s New Scandal Means for Ukraine
/By Maria Romanenko