Gi­u­liani asked for noth­ing, ex-Ukraine chief says

Poroshenko says he only spoke to U.S. ad­viser about mil­i­tary sup­port

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD - MICHAEL MAC­DON­ALD

HAL­I­FAX — The for­mer pres­i­dent of Ukraine con­firmed Sun­day he met with Rudy Gi­u­liani in late 2017, but Petro Poroshenko told a se­cu­rity con­fer­ence in Hal­i­fax he and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s then-ad­viser talked only about U.S. sup­port — and he in­sisted Gi­u­liani did not ask for any­thing in re­turn.

Poroshenko, who in April was de­feated by Volodymyr Ze­len­skiy in a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, said he spoke with Gi­u­liani about in­creas­ing Amer­i­can sup­port for the Ukrainian mil­i­tary, cy­ber­se­cu­rity and fi­nan­cial re­forms.

Dur­ing a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion at the an­nual Hal­i­fax In­ter­na­tional Se­cu­rity Fo­rum, mod­er­a­tor Robin Shep­herd asked Poroshenko if Gi­u­liani had im­posed any con­di­tions on U.S. sup­port.

Gi­u­liani, a Trump ally who later be­came the pres­i­dent’s per­sonal at­tor­ney, has been ac­cused dur­ing the Trump im­peach­ment inquiry of run­ning a par­al­lel diplo­matic ef­fort aimed at get­ting Ukraine to in­ves­ti­gate for­mer vice-pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den — Trump’s po­ten­tial ri­val in the 2020 U.S. elec­tion.

“Def­i­nitely, I can­not imag­ine this type of talks with me as a pres­i­dent of Ukraine,” Poroshenko told the mod­er­a­tor.

Poroshenko’s ac­count of the meet­ing in Oc­to­ber or Novem­ber 2017 came un­der in­tense scru­tiny at the fo­rum be­cause of the close con­nec­tion be­tween Ukrainian pol­i­tics and the on­go­ing pres­i­den­tial im­peach­ment inquiry in Wash­ing­ton.

The im­peach­ment process started af­ter an anony­mous whistle­blower al­leged that dur­ing a July 25 call, Trump told Ze­len­skiy he would with­hold mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine un­less Ze­len­skiy in­ves­ti­gated Bi­den and his son Hunter.

The whistle­blower and other U.S. of­fi­cials have ac­cused Trump of us­ing the power of his of­fice to il­le­gally so­licit in­ter­fer­ence from a for­eign coun­try.

At the Hal­i­fax event, Poroshenko was asked if Gi­u­liani men­tioned Bi­den or Burisma, the Ukrainian nat­u­ral-gas com­pany that em­ployed Hunter Bi­den.

“Def­i­nitely not, and it can­not be,” Poroshenko an­swered.

The for­mer pres­i­dent was also asked about his White House meet­ing with Trump in June 2017.

“We talked about global co­op­er­a­tion and se­cu­rity sector and sup­port for re­forms,” Poroshenko said without elab­o­rat­ing.

Poroshenko’s role in the po­lit­i­cal in­trigue sur­round­ing

Trump is ex­pected to gain at­ten­tion in the weeks ahead as one of Trump’s most vo­cal de­fend­ers — South Carolina Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham — con­firmed last week he is seek­ing doc­u­ments re­lated to Joe Bi­den’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Ukrainian of­fi­cials.

Without cit­ing any ev­i­dence, Trump has al­leged Bi­den, as vice-pres­i­dent, pres­sured Ukrainian of­fi­cials to fire the coun­try’s lead pros­e­cu­tor to pro­tect his son.

AN­DREW VAUGHAN THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Petro Poroshenko says he spoke with Rudy Gi­u­liani about in­creas­ing Amer­i­can sup­port for the Ukrainian mil­i­tary.

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