U.S. envoy Sondland didn’t hyperlink Biden probe to assist: Ukraine minister

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland attends the EU-U.S. Excessive-Degree Discussion board on small modular reactors on the European Fee headquarters in Brussels, Belgium October 21, 2019. Information/Francois Lenoir

KIEV (Information) – Ukraine’s Overseas Minister Vadym Prystaiko mentioned on Thursday that U.S. ambassador Gordon Sondland didn’t explicitly hyperlink army assist to Kiev with opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Interfax Ukraine reported.

Trump and his allies are accused by Democrat opponents of freezing almost $400 million in safety assist to Ukraine to stress President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open investigations into Biden, Trump’s essential rival for the 2020 presidential race.

Trump calls the inquiry a witch hunt.

“Ambassador Sondland didn’t inform us, and definitely didn’t inform me, a couple of connection between the help and the investigations. It is best to ask him,” Prystaiko mentioned about Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

Prystaiko’s feedback got here a day after William Taylor, the appearing ambassador to Ukraine, testified within the first televised listening to of the impeachment inquiry.

In a disclosure that drew essentially the most consideration, Taylor pointed to Trump’s eager curiosity in getting the jap European ally to research Biden and reiterated his understanding that $391 million in U.S. safety assist was withheld from Kiev except it cooperated.

Taylor mentioned a member of his employees had overheard a July 26 cellphone name between Trump and Sondland through which the Republican president requested about investigations into the Bidens, and Sondland advised him that the Ukrainians have been able to proceed.

That decision occurred a day after Trump had requested Zelenskiy throughout a cellphone name to conduct the investigations.

“I’ve by no means seen a direct relationship between investigations and safety help,” Prystaiko was quoted as saying by Interfax. “Sure, the investigations have been talked about, you understand, within the dialog of the presidents. However there was no clear connection between these occasions.”

Reporting by Matthias Williams; Enhancing by Gareth Jones