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Zelensky Claims Trump Pledged to Help ‘Return’ Crimea to Ukraine

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Zelensky Claims Trump Pledged to Help ‘Return’ Crimea to Ukraine


Talks between the US president and his Ukrainian counterpart have recently caused a scandal in Washington, with Democratic politicians launching an official impeachment inquiry into Trump.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed on Thursday that President Donald Trump vowed to assist Kiev in “returning” Crimea. According to the Ukranian politician, he also told Trump about the beauty of the peninsula.

“I believe, and I have heard this, that he agrees that this is our land and we will return it. He says: ‘Yes, you need to work, and we will help you’,” Zelenskyy said, as quoted by UNIAN news agency.

The White House hasn’t commented on the statement.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City, New York, U.S., September 25, 2019
© REUTERS / JONATHAN ERNST
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City, New York, U.S., September 25, 2019

 

The news comes amid ongoing political turmoil that started last week after US media reported, citing a whistleblower, that during the July phone call, Trump had urged Zelensky to cooperate in an investigation of Hunter Biden’s business dealings with a local gas company.

In 2016, Biden admitted publicly to having threatened Ukraine authorities with pulling $1 billion in US loan guarantees if Kiev did not fire the prosecutor in charge of the case against his son.

The transcript was released after democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry over allegations that Trump pressed Zelensky to re-open the probe in order to boost his 2020 re-election bid.

Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, left, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko meet in Kiev
© SPUTNIK / MIKHAIL PALINCHAK
Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, left, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko meet in Kiev

 

According to Republican lawmakers, the document proves that Trump didn’t break any laws. Zelensky also stressed that he was not “pushed” by Trump, while the US president called the scandal “a witch hunt”.

Crimea carried out a referendum in 2014 after clashes in the Ukranian capital which resulted in a violent coup d’état. The people of the peninsula voted to leave Ukraine and subsequently rejoined Russia. Later that spring, Donetsk and Lugansk declared their independence and refused to obey the illegal interim government in Kiev.

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