Accessibility links

Breaking News

Watchdog

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (file photo)

KYIV -- Ukrainian authorities have placed Petro Poroshenko under formal investigation for high treason, accusing the former president of links to financing Russia-backed separatists fighting government forces in the country’s east.

The State Investigation Bureau said on December 20 that it suspected Poroshenko of "committing treason" and supporting the activity of "terrorist organizations," referring to the separatists controlling parts of Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

During his presidency, Poroshenko helped the separatists to sell some 1.5 billion hryvnia ($54 million) worth of coal to Kyiv in 2014-15, it said in a statement.

The 56-year-old politician, who is now a lawmaker, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The ex-president gave no immediate comment on the announcement, but Oleksander Turchynov, a senior member of his European Solidarity party, said the accusation was “fabricated” on the instructions of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Poroshenko's party said he had left the country for a planned trip.

The accusations against Poroshenko are related to similar charges against pro-Russia lawmaker Viktor Medvedchuk, who has been under house arrest since May. Medvedchuk's political party, the second largest in parliament, denies wrongdoing.

Zelenskiy succeeded Poroshenko as president after defeating him in a 2019 election.

The war in eastern Ukraine has claimed more than 13,200 lives since April 2014. Kyiv banned trade with the breakaway regions in 2017.

Ukraine faced an acute shortage of resources after the separatists seized territory on which the country's main coal mines were located.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
A day before her hospitalization, Nadezhda Solodovnikova issued a video statement saying that the authorities were pressuring her over her active participation in protests demanding that Oral city administrators officially recognize dozens of families as owners of apartments where they were "temporarily" moved 10 years ago. (file photo)

ORAL, Kazakhstan -- Police in the Kazakh city of Oral have launched an extortion investigation into an activist after she was hospitalized in grave condition following a suicide attempt amid what she called a pressure campaign imposed on her by police for her activism on municipal housing.

Neighbors of Nadezhda Solodovnikova told RFE/RL that she was taken to hospital on December 19 after she drank extremely concentrated vinegar.

The Western Kazakhstan regional health directorate confirmed that Solodovnikova was being treated for "an extreme poisoning" in an intensive care unit of a hospital in Oral.

Oral city police officials told RFE/RL on December 20 that a probe had begun into Solodovnikova's actions, which may be deemed as an attempt to use suicide "as an act of extortion."

A day before the hospitalization, Solodovnikova issued a video statement saying that local authorities and law enforcement were pressuring her over her active participation in rallies and other actions demanding Oral city administrators officially recognize dozens of families as owners of apartments where they were "temporarily" moved 10 years ago after inspections had officially condemned their previous dwellings.

Police in Oral have detained Solodovnikova several times in the past over the rallies and pickets.

Load more

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

Subscribe

Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More

XS
SM
MD
LG