After push from Perry, backers got huge gas deal in Ukraine
By DESMOND BUTLER, MICHAEL BIESECKER, STEPHEN BRAUN and RICHARD LARDNER
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) - Two political supporters of U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry secured a potentially lucrative oil-and-gas exploration deal from the Ukrainian government soon after Perry proposed one of the men as an adviser to Ukraine's new president.?
Perry's efforts to influence Ukraine's energy policy came earlier this year just as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's new government was seeking military aid from the U.S. to defend against Russian aggression and allies of President Donald Trump were ramping up efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.
Ukraine awarded the contract to a joint venture owned by Michael Bleyzer and Alex Cranberg, businessmen with longstanding ties to the former Texas governor.
A spokeswoman for Perry denies he advocated for the business interests of any individual or company during his meetings with Ukraine's leaders.
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