The mayor, Vitaliy Klitschko, a professional boxer turned politician and longtime friend and former client of Mr. Giuliani’s was on the verge of being fired from his duties overseeing Kyiv’s $2 billion budget.
Firing Mr. Klitschko would have fit with President Volodymyr Zelensky’s campaign promise to fight Ukraine’s entrenched interests and allowed him to replace a political adversary with a loyalist in one of the country’s most important posts.
But despite the fact that Mr. Zelensky’s cabinet approved Mr. Klitschko’s removal, he remains there today, leaving his adversaries in the murky and lucrative world of Ukrainian municipal politics to wonder whether Mr. Trump’s personal attorney may have tipped the scales in his favor.
“The coincidence in timing between Klitschko’s meeting with Giuliani and the developments in the governance of Kyiv was striking,” said Oleksandr Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament whom Mr. Zelensky had been expected to nominate as Mr. Klitschko’s replacement.
Mr. Giuliani’s effort to help his friend and former client, first reported in The Washington Post, shed fresh light on the former New York mayor’s mingling of personal, business and political interests with his role as personal attorney to the president of the United States.
In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Giuliani acknowledged discussing Mr. Klitschko’s position in a meeting with a senior aide to Mr. Zelensky, Andriy Yermak, in Madrid on Aug. 2.
“I said, ‘I don’t know, I’m from the outside, but he seems like one of the good guys,’” Mr. Giuliani said, recalling the conversation. “‘And I’m speaking, speaking, speaking as a personal friend, not as a representative of the government or anything else.’”
Mr. Giuliani said that he made it clear that he was relating his personal view of Mr. Klitschko, not that of the administration. “I gave it as my opinion — not the government — and based on our personal relationships,” he said.
Mr. Yermak also acknowledged that the two discussed Mr. Klitschko’s fate.
“Giuliani asked for my opinion about Vitaliy Klitschko as a mayor,” Mr. Yermak said in a statement in response to an inquiry from The Times. “He immediately issued the disclaimer that I should not see his question as an attempt to influence me.”
Mr. Yermak said he told Mr. Giuliani that he had long known Mr. Klitschko and that he had the support of Kyiv’s citizens.
“That was the end of our conversation about Klitschko,” Mr. Yermak said. “As a result, I reject any speculation that Mr. Giuliani in any way sought to influence my opinion or to make me accept some narrative regarding Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko.”
Given the complex and opaque nature of Ukrainian politics, it is not clear whether Mr. Giuliani’s intervention was the decisive force allowing the mayor to keep his job.