KYIV – Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko landed in Kyiv on Monday to face treason charges in a case he says has been fought by an ally of his successor, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
During a brief stint at border control after boarding a flight from Warsaw, he accused border guards of taking his passport. He then appeared in front of a crowd of flag-waving supporters outside the airport.
Poroshenko’s return sparks a confrontation with Zelenskiy’s government in what critics say is an unwarranted distraction at a time when Ukraine is preparing for a possible military strike. happenings of Russia and called on Western allies for support.
Western diplomats called for political unification in Ukraine before Poroshenko arrived.
Poroshenko is being investigated for alleged treason related to funding Russian-backed separatist fighters through illegal coal sales while in office in 2014-15. His party accused Zelenskiy of a reckless attempt to silence political opposition.
Zelenskiy’s government says prosecutors and judiciary are independent and accuses Poroshenko of thinking he is above the law.
“We are here not to defend Poroshenko, but to unite and defend Ukraine,” Poroshenko told the crowd.
At a briefing, Tetiana Sapyan, a spokeswoman for the State Bureau of Investigation (DBR), said Poroshenko was given a summons to appear in court late Monday.
“However, Petro Poroshenko refused to accept the legal documents, ignored the legal requirements of the investigator, and allowed his companions to commit acts of physical protest, this has been recorded. back on tape”.
Ukraine and its allies have sounded the alarm that tens of thousands of Russian troops have gathered near their border.
After days of diplomacy last week failed to achieve a breakthrough, the United States on Friday said Russia was preparing a pretext for an attack, which the Kremlin dismissed as “baseless”.
(Reporting by Sergiy Karazy, Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets; writing by Matthias Williams; editing by Alex Richardson)