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Trump admits he talked about Biden in call with Ukrainian president about corruption

Trump admits he talked about Biden in call with Ukrainian president about corruptionDonald Trump admitted on Sunday that he raised former vice president Joe Biden in a conversation with Ukraine's leader about corruption, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo was forced to insist that the president did not apply pressure on Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival's son.Mr Trump told reporters he spoke to Ukraine's new president after his summer election and said that "we don't want our people, like vice president Biden and his son" contributing to corruption already happening in the Eastern European nation.



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Trump Didn’t Mention Foreign Aid ‘Quid Pro Quo’ During Call with Ukrainian President: Report

Trump Didn’t Mention Foreign Aid ‘Quid Pro Quo’ During Call with Ukrainian President: ReportPresident Trump didn't mention an offer of providing foreign aid to Ukraine during a recent call with president Volodymyr Zelensky, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.Trump urged Zelensky to launch an investigation into Vice President Joe Biden's son on eight separate occasions during the July call but did not make an offer of foreign aid in exchange for the opening of a probe, as has been widely speculated.The president reportedly urged Zelensky to work with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to determine the veracity of allegations that Biden leveraged his position as vice president to quash an investigation into an energy company whose board his son, Hunter, sat on.The call, which Trump has defended as "totally appropriate," has been scrutinized in recent days in the wake of reports that the conversation between Trump and Zelensky prompted a whistleblower from within the intelligence agencies to file a complaint with the inspector general.Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have demanded to see the complaint, which reportedly relates to an undisclosed "promise" that Trump made to a foreign leader, but the Trump administration has thus far refused to comply with their subpoena.Giuliani has for months sought to advance an investigation into the corruption allegations leveled against Biden, meeting with a top Ukrainian official in Paris in July before sitting down with one of Zelensky's aides in August.The Trump administration began reviewing a $ 250 million Ukrainian aid package just weeks after the August meeting and chose to release the aid earlier this month, prompting speculation that Trump offered the aid to incentivize the opening of an investigation into Biden in order to bolster his own electoral prospects.In 2014, Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that was then under investigation for state corruption. After Hunter joined the board, his father, who was then serving as vice president, began advocating for the firing of a top Ukrainian prosecutor.Biden maintains that his conduct was completely unrelated to his son's board chair, and Ukrainian officials have said they have not surfaced any evidence of corruption.



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Ukrainian TV Comic Scores Landslide Win to Clinch Presidency

Ukrainian TV Comic Scores Landslide Win to Clinch PresidencyVolodymyr Zelenskiy, a 41-year-old TV comic who’s tapped into fury at the political class, got 73 percent of ballots after almost 99 percent of votes were counted. Incumbent Petro Poroshenko, who conceded defeat after exit polls showed his loss, garnered 25 percent as of Monday morning. Zelenskiy’s triumph owes a lot to his newcomer status and comes despite a campaign that’s been heavy on style with only a sprinkling of policy proposals.



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Comedian Zelenskiy wins Ukrainian presidential race by landslide: exit polls

Comedian Zelenskiy wins Ukrainian presidential race by landslide: exit pollsThe apparent landslide victory of Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 41, is a bitter blow for incumbent Petro Poroshenko who tried to rally Ukrainians around the flag by casting himself as a bulwark against Russian aggression and a champion of Ukrainian identity. Two national exit polls showed Zelenskiy had won 73 percent of the vote with Poroshenko winning just 25 percent. Zelenskiy, who plays a fictitious president in a popular TV series, is now poised to take over the leadership of a country on the frontline of the West’s standoff with Russia following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support for a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.



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Popular comedian races ahead in Ukrainian presidential election

Popular comedian races ahead in Ukrainian presidential electionExit polls and early counting put 41-year-old Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who plays a fictional president in a popular TV series, comfortably ahead of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko in the first round, though short of a majority. Zelenskiy’s rise coincided with voters around the world upending the status quo, propelling anti-establishment forces such as U.S. President Donald Trump and Italy’s 5-Star movement to power. Investors are also watching to see if the next president will push reforms required to keep the country in an International Monetary Fund bailout program that has supported Ukraine through war, sharp recession and a currency plunge.



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Independence decree presented to Ukrainian Orthodox bishop

Independence decree presented to Ukrainian Orthodox bishopISTANBUL (AP) — The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople on Sunday presented a decree of independence to the head of the nascent Orthodox Church of Ukraine, formally severing it from the Russian Orthodox Church.



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Watch Ukrainian MPs punch one another in the face as a fight breaks out in Parliament

Watch Ukrainian MPs punch one another in the face as a fight breaks out in ParliamentPunches were thrown in the Ukrainian parliament yesterday after a bill was passed that would require the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to change its name to indicate its ties to Russia. Fighting broke out after Nestor Shufrych, a member of the Opposition Bloc, removed a poster from the podium which accused pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk of being an “agent” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr Shufrych was then punched in the face by People’s Front politician Yuriy Bereza before the fighting escalated and other members piled in. Mr Medvedchuk is the leader of Ukrainian Choice, an organization that is considered to be pro-Kremlin and has been linked to the unofficial exchange of captives between Kiev and Russian-backed separatists. The speaker of the house announced a break on December 20th after the brawl ended. The proposed law, if signed by President Petro Poroshenko, could require the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to call itself  the ‘Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine’. The bill comes amid rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. The situation escalated last month when three Ukrainian naval vessels were seized off the coast of Crimea by Russian forces. Martial law was temporarily declared in Ukraine following the incident, under which all Russian men aged between 16 and 60 were banned from entering the country. Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russian-backed separatists and volunteers in eastern Ukraine since 2014. The Ukrainian parliament has a long history of brawls, particularly in relation to disagreements over the country’s relationship with Russia. In 2012 a huge fight broke out over proposals to give the Russian language equal status to Ukrainian, whilst in 2013 clashes broke out after a speech was made to the parliament in Russian. More recently, blows were exchanged in the house in 2017 over a law regarding state sovereignty in the separatist-held territories in eastern Ukraine.



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Russia insists detained Ukrainian sailors will face trial

Russia insists detained Ukrainian sailors will face trialRussia on Friday insisted that Ukrainian sailors it captured after seizing their vessels will go on trial for violating its maritime borders, despite international calls for their release. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the 24 Ukrainian sailors currently in pre-trial detention will be put in the dock for violations of Russian and international law. “When the investigation is over, there will be a trial,” he told reporters after a meeting in Milan of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).



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UK PM May says Russia must release Ukrainian vessels and crew

UK PM May says Russia must release Ukrainian vessels and crewRussia must release the Ukrainian boats and sailors it captured on Sunday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday, adding that Britain would continue to push for “appropriate sanctions.” Russia opened fire on the three Ukrainian vessels and then seized them and their crew on Sunday near Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. “This is part of a pattern of Russian behavior. “We have always been at the forefront in the EU of calling for sanctions on Russia in relation to its behavior,” she added.



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Mother says Ukrainian sailor held by Moscow 'always dreamed of sea'

Mother says Ukrainian sailor held by Moscow 'always dreamed of sea'Pensioner Olga Oprysko only found out her son had been captured by Russian forces after a neighbour in her small western Ukrainian village told her about an incident in the Azov Sea. When she switched on her television, the 74-year-old saw that Russian border guards were holding Ukrainian sailors after a confrontation in the Kerch Strait — a waterway that gives access to the Azov Sea from the Black Sea. At first, she did not think he was involved, Oprysko told AFP in her house in Naditychi, a village south of Lviv in western Ukraine.



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