Former Ukrainian leader Poroshenko named in “betrayal” investigation

Authorities said they were investigating dozens of alleged crimes in which they suspected the 56-year-old politician might be involved.

FILE: This photo taken and released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service shows Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko leading a session of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine in Kiev in early November 26, 2018, following a incident in the Black Sea off Moscow- annexed Crimea. Photo: AFP

KIEV – Ukrainian officials on Monday named former President Petro Poroshenko as a suspect in a treason investigation, accusing him of helping pro-Russian separatists sell coal in Kiev.

Authorities said they were investigating dozens of alleged crimes in which they suspected the 56-year-old politician might be involved.

The state investigation office said it suspected Poroshenko of “treason” and of supporting the activity of “terrorist organizations”, referring to the separatists.

During his 2014-2015 presidency, Poroshenko helped the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk to sell some 1.5 billion hryvnia ($ 54 million) of coal in Kiev, the office said in a statement.

Poroshenko faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Earlier this year, a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian lawmaker and a former energy minister were also named as suspects in the case.

In April 2019, Poroshenko was defeated in a presidential election by Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian with no previous political experience.

Zelensky pledged to eliminate corruption and investigate those responsible for the previous administration.

Although Poroshenko brought the former Soviet country closer to the West during his presidential term, his critics accuse him of failing to fight corruption and poverty.

Now a senior lawmaker in a parliament dominated by Zelensky’s ruling party, he made no immediate comment on the news.

His close ally, former parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov, has denied any wrongdoing by Poroshenko. It was, he said, “another case fabricated by direct order of the outgoing president.”

Poroshenko was currently abroad, but had no intention of “fleeing” the Ukrainian security forces, he added.

Ukraine has been fighting pro-Russian separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk since 2014.

The fighting has left more than 13,000 dead.

Kiev and the West accuse Moscow of sending troops and weapons across the border, which the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.


Source link

Comments are closed.