Private phone conversations between former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko have been released by a Ukrainian lawmaker.
Edited recordings of the calls between the two leaders were played at a news conference Tuesday in Kiev by Andriy Derkach, a member of Ukraine’s parliament who has claimed he has proof showing that Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian natural gas company that employed Biden’s son Hunter Biden, paid the then-Vice President $900,000 in lobbying fees.
“It’s going to be critical for him to work quickly to repair the damage that Shokin did,” Biden said during a call with Poroshenko. “And I’m a man of my word. And now that the new prosecutor general is in place, we’re ready to move forward to signing that new $1 billion loan guarantee.”
Derkach has previously claimed Biden pressured Ukraine in December 2015 to force Shokin’s resignation and dangled $1 billion in loan guarantees as an incentive.
“Tell me that there is a new government and prosecutor general,” Biden added during the call. “I am prepared to do a public signing of the commitment for the billion dollars. Again, I’m not suggesting that that’s what you want to do or don’t want. I’m just suggesting that that’s what we’re prepared to do. And again, it wouldn’t be finalized until, you know, the IMF pieces are written.”
Poroshenko responded to Biden’s statement, saying, “Extremely strong motivation…If you think that the political motivated figure would not be very good from your point of view, I recall this proposal.”
Neither Joe Biden nor Poroshenko mentioned Hunter Biden or Burisma in the leaked audio tapes.
Derkach said he received the recordings from “investigative journalists” and that they were made by Poroshenko. Derkach, a former member of the pro-Russia Party of Regions, has argued in favor of a corruption case being brought against Joe and Hunter Biden. Derkach and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, met in Kiev in December 2019.
While serving as U.S. Vice President, Biden publicly pushing for the firing of prosecutor general Victor Shokin. Last year, Mr. Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations that he had told Poroshenko that Ukraine would not receive the $1 billion loan unless Shokin was ousted from his position.
Meanwhile, the Biden campaign says the release of the recordings is part of an ongoing effort for the Russians to sabotage the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee’s campaign.
“They heavily edited this, and it’s still a nothingburger that landed with a thud,” Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates told the Washington Post.
Petro Poroshenko’s political party, European Solidarity, released a statement, claiming that the recordings were designed to drag Ukraine, a U.S. ally, into the 2020 presidential election between Biden and President Donald Trump.