Ukraine to probe leaked calls between Biden and ex-President

WION Web Team Kiev, Ukraine May 21, 2020, 08.59 AM(IST)

Joe Biden Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The tapes contain few revelations and their provenance remains murky.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced on Wednesday that the leaked recordings of phone calls allegedly between Joe Biden and former president Petro Poroshenko would be investigated by the country’s law enforcement agencies.

The recordings, containing what appear to be heavily edited conversations between Biden and Poroshenko while in office, were published by a Ukrainian associate of Rudy Giuliani, attorney of US President Donald Trump, in an apparent attempt to embarrass the politicians and dent Biden’s presidential run against Trump in the 2020 Presidential elections.

Andrii Derkach, the Giuliani ally, claimed to have received the tapes from investigative journalists. Opponents have pointed at the lawmaker’s ties to Russia. Derkach is a former MP for the pro-Russian Party of Regions faction and attended a KGB-run high school in Moscow. His father was a former KGB officer and then headed Ukraine’s intelligence service.

In the edited conversations, Biden apparently ties the delivery of $1bn in aid to Ukraine to Poroshenko firing Viktor Shokin, a former general prosecutor widely considered to be corrupt. In another, the two discuss the potential appointment of his successor, Yuri Lutsenko.

The tapes contain few revelations and their provenance remains murky. Still, Trump allies have sought to leverage them to revive scrutiny, as well as conspiracy theories, about Biden’s ties to Ukraine ahead of the 2020 elections.

Zelenskiy's statement that their contents might be ''perceived, qualified as treason'' prompted an angry rebuttal from Poroshenko, who said that the Zelenskiy administration may have played a role in their release and should be investigated.