U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on September 25 that he had told his Ukrainian counterpart in a recent call that it was important for Kiev to deal with corruption, but declined to comment on a dramatic political showdown in Washington that threatens President Donald Trump’s presidency.
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on September 24 launched a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, accusing him of seeking foreign help to smear Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead of next years election.
Mr. Esper told reporters that he had spoken with his Ukrainian counterpart a week or two ago and told him it was important for Ukraine to deal with corruption. He said he also emphasized the need for European allies to carry the burden.
Asked whether a White House decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine had harmed national security, Esper said: “I’m not going to get into any of that right now… As I’ve said on many occasions, I’m trying to keep (the Pentagon) out of politics and obviously that is all the news today.”