Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko

In an exclusive interview, Ukraine’s foreign minister says he doesn’t know or trust Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, who gave an explosive interview detailing the White House’s efforts to intimidate the Ukrainian president into providing information about Joe Biden. Christiane spoke with Vadym Prystaiko in London, where he was to attend a meeting about the downing of the Ukrainian plane.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Let me ask you though, because you were the head of President Zelensky’s office. You have been with him since the very beginning, even before you were made foreign minister. And it’s very clear that Lev Parnas and others who’ve testified before Congress have said that this message was passed through officials. You say that your name hasn’t been mentioned public. I just want to make sure that you never received this kind of message verbally or otherwise from anybody connected with Rudolph Giuliani or representing the president.

VADYM PRYSTAIKO: I never met Rudy, I never met this Parnas and the all other name mentioned. I believe that people are now trying to raise their political importance. I never had the chance. And frankly, we don’t need these channels. Our channels of communications with the Americans are well established.

If some of — unofficial contacts through advisers, that’s why adviser is for. We took the official formal part. We are happy with the conversation. I was at all the meetings and the conversation is a telephone and in person with President Trump. And I can tell you with all certainty that he was never mention that we have to do something. And President Zelensky was always telling him that whatever this message and this — and the lesson you are teaching us, all these 30 years of our independence, that it should be rule of law and should be independence judiciary and prosecutor general from the present, we finally got the message.

We are not going to intervene because of some political gains. We told them, if you have information, send it to the official channels, which is prosecutor general’s office. You have your prosecutor general, we have ours, let them talk. If anything to be investigated, let’s investigate this.

AMANPOUR: So, let me then ask you another question. Because clearly the United States had made it clear that either the president or the vice president was going to come to President Zelensky’s inauguration. And this we are told, also, was mentioned by either Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani or a number of people who they say were carrying message to your president. It didn’t happen, as you very well know, they didn’t come to the inauguration.

PRYSTAIKO: I can tell you why. We — some blame can be on our side because we had to do it in very fast way. President Zelensky wanted to leave the parliament free from his new presidency and we have just a couple days to make it legal. We’re limited by ourselves by time. So, we gave quite a short notice to all the nations. And in our case, in the American case, Secretary Perry came. We believe that we would have somebody else if we want to if we give more time for foreign delegations. So, it was not a big deal for us, at least we did not feel. Whatever these individuals are saying, we invited given just one-week prior notice to delegations and we received Secretary Perry, which was a good representation and good level. And I was at the conversations with Secretary Perry as well. And anything of the sort you were just referring never been mentioned in none of these conversations.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Ukraine’s foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, about Lev Parnas and Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest about fire relief in his country. Walter Isaacson speaks with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. about his show “Finding Your Roots.”