Poroshenko, facing charges of treason, promises to return to Ukraine on Jan. 17
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who in late December was charged with treason, has said that he plans to return to Ukraine on Jan. 17.
“As promised, I am coming back to Kyiv on Jan. 17 to appear in court and hold a meeting with the Prosecutor General,” Poroshenko wrote in a post on Facebook. “As an MP I am eligible to be received without prior appointment.”
Poroshenko added he was not coming back to defend himself from the incumbent Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky but to defend Ukraine from “an inept government and foreign aggression.”
“Zelensky’s kleptocrats are attempting to establish an authoritarian regime and clamp down on the opposition, as happened in Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.” Poroshenko wrote. “(Fugitive former Ukrainian President Viktor) Yanukovych's attempt to establish such a regime in Ukraine failed.”
Poroshenko also wrote that during his visit to Europe in January visit he would be working to defend Ukraine from Russian aggression and to support Ukrainian democracy.
The State Bureau of Investigation or SBI on Dec. 20 charged Poroshenko with high treason and aiding terrorist organizations. The official announcement of the charges reads that they stemmed from allegedly criminal schemes for importing coal from Russian-occupied areas of the Donbas region – formerly Ukraine’s key coal-mining region.
The SBI said Poroshenko had abused his power and influence to annul contracts with South Africa and later, at Russia’s behest, signed contracts for a coal supply from the Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine. In that way he allegedly “made Ukraine’s energy supply dependent on Russia and Russia-controlled self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.”
Poroshenko’s political party European Solidarity denied the charges against Poroshenko and accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of trying to repress his political opponents.
On Dec. 17 the SBI announced that Poroshenko had ignored a court summons. When SBI officials tried to hand him the summons, Poroshenko got into his car and drove off, the bureau said.
The summons related to a criminal case of buying coal from mines in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, controlled by Russian proxy forces. The case also involved charges against pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk and former Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn.
European Solidarity claimed Zelensky was using his “puppet SBI” to exact political revenge against Poroshenko and that the president was putting pressure on law enforcement agencies. The political party also said that on Dec. 17 Poroshenko had left on a diplomatic tour to Poland and Turkey.
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