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Poroshenko arrives in Kyiv to face treason charges

Ukrainian former President Petro Poroshenko is seen on a screen as he addresses his supporters upon arrival at Zhulyany airport in Kyiv, Ukraine January 17, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko arrived in Kyiv on Monday to face treason allegations brought against him by loyalists of his successor, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Ukrainian former President Petro Poroshenko and his wife Maryna walk out of a plane after arriving at Zhulyany airport in Kyiv, Ukraine January 17, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The news: Poroshenko accused border officials of stealing his passport during a brief standoff at border check after landing on a flight from Warsaw. Outside the airport, he was greeted by a mob of flag-waving admirers.

  • Poroshenko’s homecoming sets up a battle with Zelenskiy’s government, which opponents say is an untimely diversion at a time when Ukraine is prepared for a possible Russian military invasion and seeking backing from Western friends.
  • Prior to Poroshenko’s visit, Western diplomats appealed for political unity in Ukraine.
  • While in government in 2014-15, Poroshenko was accused of treason for allegedly paying Russian-backed separatist fighters through illegal coal sales. His party accused Zelenskiy of attempting to muzzle political opponents in a risky manner.
Ukrainian former President Petro Poroshenko speaks to journalists upon arrival at Zhulyany airport in Kyiv, Ukraine January 17, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

What they’re saying: Zelenskiy’s administration claims that the prosecutors and judges are autonomous, and that Poroshenko believes he is above the law.

  • “We are not here to protect Poroshenko,” he reminded the throng, “but to unite and safeguard Ukraine.”
  • Poroshenko was issued a summons to appear in court later on Monday, according to Tetiana Sapyan, a spokeswoman for the State Bureau of Investigations (DBR).
  • “However, Petro Poroshenko refused to receive procedural paperwork, disregarded the investigator’s legal requirements, and at the same time, his associates engaged in physical resistance, which was captured on videotape.”
Ukrainian former President Petro Poroshenko speaks to an officer of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service upon arrival at Zhulyany airport in Kyiv, Ukraine January 17, 2022. Mikhail Palinchak/Press Service of Petro Poroshenko/Handout via REUTERS

Ukraine and its allies have raised the alarm about the presence of tens of thousands of Russian troops near its borders.

Following days of negotiation that had no results last week, the U.S. claimed on Friday that Russia was creating a pretext for an assault, which the Kremlin denounced as “unfounded.”

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