In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko spoke about his country’s role in the ongoing impeachment of Donald Trump, the Burisma hacking and the Ukrainian Airlines plane which was shot down by Iran.

When asked about recent revelations from Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, Prystaiko stated that he had no knowledge of the situation and “never spoke with this individual and again, frankly, I don’t trust any word he is now saying.”

He went on to say, “I never met Rudy (Giuliani), I never met Lev Parnas, and all other names mentioned. I believe that people are now trying to raise their political importance. I never had the channels, and frankly we don’t need these channels. Our channels of communications with the Americans are well-established.”

Prystaiko also strongly denied any quid pro quo accusations, specifying that US Ambassador Gordon Sondland had “never talked to me about any quid pro quo, or any unofficial channels or ways of what we can do to get closer to President Trump.”

Speaking about the recent Russian hacking of Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company on whose board Hunter Biden served, Prystaiko said he was “not surprised at all.” He revealed that Russian hacks of Ukrainian companies are commonplace, “As the minister of foreign affairs, I know how many times my own system has been tried and how many attempts, successful and non-successful, to breach our security system.”

Prystaiko also spoke about the Ukrainian Airlines plane crash, caused by a missile fired by the Iranian government. He stressed that Ukraine were seeking “criminal accountability” for the perpetrators, and had made this known to the Iranians, “We made it clear when President Zelensky talked to President Rouhani that we want to know who gave the order, the whole link. We have to find out who is responsible for the deaths of our people.”

Key Quotes:

On Lev Parnas:

“Frankly, I never spoke with this individual and again, frankly, I don’t trust any word he is now saying.”

On Giuliani’s back-channel efforts:

“I never met Rudi (Giuliani), I never met Les Parnas, and all other names mentioned. I believe that people are now trying to raise their political importance. I never had the channels, and frankly we don’t need these channels. Our channels of communications with the Americans are well-established.”

On quid pro quo:

“(Ambassador Sondland) never talked to me about any quid pro quo, or any unofficial channels or ways of what we can do to get closer to President Trump.”

On Marie Yovanovitch:

“She is a very good, refined diplomat, who was instrumental for both Ukraine and the United States for our cooperation. I hope that this is some mistake, she was never having any troubles or threats in Ukraine.”

On whether Ukraine will investigate alleged surveillance of Yovanovitch:

“Our prosecutor office can do it, because of receiving these facts. And if they consider these speculations as facts, which we have to investigate, we will.”

On the Russian hacking of Burisma:

“I am not surprised at all.”

On Russian hacking:

“Why I’m not surprised that Russians hacked in the system of any company in Ukraine. As the minister of foreign affairs, I know how many times my own system has been tried and how many attempts, successful and non-successful, to breach our security system.”

On Burisma’s link to Joe Biden:

“This company consists of very, very famous individuals who came as one of the biggest foreign companies which is operating right now in Ukraine. So it’s not just son of Vice President Biden who was a part of this company.”

On whether the Ukranian government was aware of the Burisma hack before the NYT article:

“No. Not at least me as a foreign minister.”

On Iran admitting shooting down the Ukrainian Airlines plane:

“We at least now have this recognition, which we didn’t by the way receive from the very first days. I had a talk with minister of foreign affairs for Iran the first day, and he never mentioned that the plane was shot down.”

On holding Iran to account:

“We hope that we will be able to bring the criminal accountability of those perpetrators of this crime.“

“And we are not just talking about some poor soldier who pushed the button. We made it clear when President Zelensky talked to President Rouhani that we want to know who gave the order, the whole link. We have to find out who is responsible for the deaths of our people.”

On the plane’s black boxes:

“We now have access to everything we needed. We’ve managed to identify bodies, at least the Ukrainians, and we are ready to repatriate. By the way, we are offering now assistance for other nations too for repatriation. What we are missing, last piece in this equation, is the access to the information stored in the black boxes. We’ve been told by the Iranians that we will be able to repatriate the boxes, now there’s discussion raised from I don’t know where, that it can be still done in Iranian territory. It’s not a big deal where it will be done, we just want to know that nobody’s tampering with the recordings themselves and they have right expertise on hand when it is done.”

On the nuclear agreement with Iran:

“We support the efforts of the international community of how to make the Iranians drop this idea of becoming yet another nuclear state.”

Source: Grayling