Petro Poroshenko, former president of Ukraine, speaks at a session at the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Former president of Ukraine reveals details of 2017 meeting with Rudy Giuliani

He spoke with Giuliani about increasing American support for Ukrainian military, cybersecurity, financial reforms

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 Zelensky 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 whistle-blower alleged that during a July 25 call, Trump told Zelensky he would withhold military aid to Ukraine unless Zelensky investigated Biden and his son Hunter.

The whistle-blower 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.

READ MORE: Trump insists on debunked Ukraine theory, despite testimony

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

“We talked about global co-operation 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 Senator Lindsey Graham — confirmed last week he is seeking documents related to Joe Biden’s communications with Ukrainian officials.

Graham’s inquiry is focused on any calls Biden may have had with Poroshenko regarding an investigation of Burisma.

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.

Despite the political upheaval in Washington, Poroshenko was quick to praise Trump for providing military support to Ukraine as it continues to wage war with Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and has encouraged a pro-Kremlin insurgency along the country’s eastern flank.

In particular, Poroshenko said Trump’s decision to send Javelin anti-tank missiles has proven to be an effective deterrent to Russian tank commanders — even before the highly accurate weapons were deployed.

“All the Russian tanks on the occupied territory stopped appearing on the front,” Poroshenko said. “Russian tankers refused to sit in the tank because Ukraine had the Javelin. Our … casualties were significantly reduced because of this psychological factor.”

Poroshenko said the impeachment proceedings have created a global distraction that has benefited Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Now, we have switched attention away from Russia to Ukraine-Gate,” he told the forum. “Who has an interest in that? Ukraine? No. The United States? Definitely not. One man who sits in Moscow.”

As for the Crimea region, Poroshenko said he had no doubt it would one day regain its status as Ukrainian territory, and he renewed his drive to see Ukraine join the NATO military alliance.

Poroshenko said he was grateful for the support from the United States and Canada, saying these allies understand Ukrainians are fighting for freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

He cited former prime minister Stephen Harper, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s former foreign affairs minister, whose Ukrainian roots were also mentioned.

“We should keep this solidarity … Don’t allow Putin to destabilize us,” he said.

“I have almost six years of communication with Putin. My strong piece of advice: Please, don’t trust Putin.”

Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

WEB POLL: Would you like to see a new highway built between B.C. and Central Alberta?

Building another highway through the mountains would shave 95 km from Kamloops to Red Deer

Man accused in Salmon Arm 7-Eleven fire pleads not guilty to breach of bail

Supreme Court trial will decide arson charges while Provincial Court will look at breach charge

Judge in Salmon Arm Provincial Court asks inmate for verdict on prison food

Prisoner provides judgment on meals, judge cautioned about 7-Eleven remarks

Landslide stops repair crew from reaching internet service tower near Salmon Arm

MyBC Datacom users in Tappen, Sunnybrae, White Lake and parts of the Salmon Valley may be affected

Okanagan divers ready to take on 2020 B.C. Winter Games

The athletes have been training four days a week

A&W emloyees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all expenses paid vacations

B.C. daredevil embraces ‘good times and bad ideas’

Spikes in the head, sword swallowing and a stapled body all in a day’s work

Apex Mountain hosting memorial run for Brayden Kuroda

Kuroda, a Penticton native and World Cup freestyle skier, passed away Monday night at the age of 19.

Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings take spotlight in Vernon

Outlaw Country to revive classics of the Man in Black in March

Okanagan business throws bone to B.C. Alzheimer Society

T-Bone’s Fresh Meal Markets raised $11,000 for the society in December 2019

Column: Want to know what fish are biting on?

Great outdoors by James Murray

Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as anti-pipeline blockades drag on

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto

Johnny Cash takes centre stage in Okanagan

Outlaw Country to revive classics of the Man in Black in March

Most Read