Ukraine’s foreign minister said Thursday that he did not see a “direct link” between the U.S. sending military aid to Ukraine and Ukraine opening an investigation into the Bidens.
Democrats have accused President Donald Trump of suggesting a quid pro quo, claiming he planned to withhold military aid from Ukraine until that nation’s government investigated former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
While he was vice president, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who had investigated Burisma Holdings, an energy company where Hunter served on the board.
But the U.S. military aid to Ukraine was released in September without Ukraine launching an investigation into the Bidens.
And Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said Thursday that he never saw a connection between the aid and the potential investigations.
“I have never seen a direct link between investigations and security assistance,” Prystaiko told reporters, according to Ukraine’s Interfax news agency.
“Yes, investigations were mentioned, you know, in a presidential conversation,” the foreign minister said.
“But there was no clear connection between these events,” he added.
Prystaiko specifically said he did not hear about a link between these two matters from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.
As The Washington Post reported, Bill Taylor — America’s top diplomat to Ukraine — testified Wednesday that one of his staffers had listened to a July 26 conversation between Trump and Sondland about “the investigations.”
But Prystaiko said he did not hear anything about this from Sondland.
“Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and did not tell me exactly, about the relation between the [military] assistance and the investigations,” he told reporters.
“You should ask him. I do not recall any conversation with me as with foreign minister,” he added.
“It was not we, the Ukrainian officials [who were told this],” Prystaiko added.
Prystaiko’s comments came one day after the first public impeachment hearing as part of House Democrats’ push to impeach Trump.
In addition to Taylor, George Kent — the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs — also testified.
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