by Reuters. Tue, 21 December 2021
KYIV, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday dismissed as unacceptable a decision by authorities to investigate him for high treason over his alleged financing of separatist forces in the eastern Donbass region.
On Monday the state investigative bureau said Poroshenko was suspected of “facilitating the activities” of terrorist organisations in a preliminary conspiracy https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-accuses-former-president-poroshenko-treason-2021-12-20 with an unnamed group of people including some top officials in Russia.
“Accusing the head of state of state treason, financing terrorists, facilitating the terrorist organizations is the crossing of the red lines,” Poroshenko said in a video from the Polish capital Warsaw, where he is on a visit.
“It is not a joke anymore, jokes are over. And one will be held responsible for this. But later, because now someone has to be wiser, because now we have to unite, because now we have to save Ukraine and repel the Russian aggression,” he said.
Ukraine has been at war with Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass region since 2014. Moscow has unnerved the West with a troop buildup near Ukraine in recent months.
Officials have said the accusations against Poroshenko were related to similar charges against a prominent pro-Russian lawmaker Viktor Medvedchuk, who has been under house arrest for about six months.
In October, law enforcement officials accused Medvedchuk of colluding with officials during Poroshenko’s administration to buy coal from mines in separatist-held areas in 2014-2015 as a way of financing the separatists.
The investigative bureau said last week the officials could not summon Poroshenko for questioning in person. Poroshenko’s party said the former president had left the country for a planned trip.
The party said the accusation was fabricated on the instruction of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The embassies of the United States and Britain in Ukraine said in statements they are “closely following” the case against Poroshenko.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Editing by William Maclean)