Detained Ukrainian opposition leader testifies against former president

Viktor Medvedchuk has outlined alleged corruption schemes perpetrated by former Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has released a video in which captured Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk testifies against former President Petro Poroshenko, accusing him of privatizing an oil pipeline and conducting business with breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk regions. during his tenure.

The two men are the most important political rivals of current President Volodomyr Zelensky.

Medvedchuk, the leader of Ukraine’s second largest party ‘Opposition Platform – For Life’, was arrested by the SBU on April 12 after being charged with treason. His group, along with other opposition parties in Ukraine, has been banned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for “collaborating with Russia” and engaging in “anti-Ukrainian” activities, such as opposing the government’s policies on Western integration.

In the video, released by the SBU on Monday, Medvedchuk claims that Poroshenko personally asked him to establish a back channel with the Russian leadership, which was obliged to push decisions through various institutions and agencies to privatize the Ukrainian section of Samara. -Westbound fuel pipeline, stretching from Russia and Belarus to Ukraine and west to the EU. At one time it was nicknamed the ‘Medvedchuk pipeline’.

“I started working on the pipeline at the request of Poroshenko. If someone had said that this was the ‘Poroshenko pipeline’, it would have been more appropriate. And it’s not because now I want to justify myself. In 2016, then-President Poroshenko addressed me with a request, taking into account my contacts and relationship with the leadership of the Russian Federation, requesting assistance in the purchase of the pipeline or its owner PrykarpatZapadTrans”, Medvedchuk said.

He explained that in order to privatize the pipeline and make it essentially the property of Poroshenko, a number of steps had to be taken.

“The courts, the prosecutors, the Antimonopoly Committee, the State Property Funds, all ruled in favor of President Poroshenko’s private interests.” the opposition leader said, adding that the business allegedly cost the former president $23 million, which he paid through fictitious contracts, but earned its owners twice that amount in one year, up to $42 million.

As proof that the pipeline actually belonged to Poroshenko, Medvedchuk points to the fact that all transfers of diesel through the facility ceased in May 2019, just after Poroshenko’s term ended.

Medvedchuk also told the SBU that, in the period between 2014 and 2015, practically all the main leaders of Ukraine were involved in a scheme to supply the country with coal purchased from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR), which They separated. kyiv now considers it to have been a betrayal of the state, involving fraud and financing of terrorism.

“All the top leaders of the state were involved in this (scheme) – from the president and cabinet ministers, to law enforcement and the people, who were directly involved in making it all work.” said the arrested parliamentarian.

According to the SBU, Medvedchuk provided all the names of the top officials who participated in the scheme, and the list reportedly includes former bureaucrats, central bankers, parliamentarians and law enforcement officials.

Poroshenko’s lawyers responded to these accusations by stating that Medvedchuk’s testimony has nothing in common with reality and accused the SBU of engaging in public relations.

“In our opinion, in general, what the SBU does is exclusively public relations. First of all, this is not their business, this should be done by the SBI (State Bureau of Investigation). And the fact that this is being reported by the SBU confirms that there is nothing to do with the truth or the law here.” Poroshenko’s lawyer stressed.

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Former Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s dramatic return to fight ‘treason’ charges

kyiv authorities charged Poroshenko with treason in December 2021 for allegedly illegally buying coal from the Donbass and thereby financing terrorism. Having previously left the country, the former president returned to Ukraine in January to face the charges, which he said were politically motivated, and accused Zelensky of using them to distract the country from his administration’s failed policies.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The Minsk Protocol, negotiated by Germany and France, was designed to give breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

Since then, the Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.

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