Kyiv’s Pechersk District Court on Jan. 10 extended pro-Kremlin lawmaker Viktor Medvedchuk’s house arrest in a treason case for two months.
In October Medvedchuk, a co-leader of the pro-Kremlin Opposition Platform-For Life party (44 seats in parliament), was charged with treason and financing terrorism and placed under house arrest. He is accused of being involved in supplying coal to Ukraine’s state-owned enterprises from Russian-occupied areas in the Donbas in 2014-2015.
Medvedchuk denies the accusations of wrongdoing.
Medvedchuk, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's right-hand man in Ukraine, had previously gotten along well with presidents and remained one of the most influential politicians in the country. However, he has found himself in hot water over the past year, although it is not clear whether the criminal cases against him will result in convictions or jail terms.
In December ex-President Petro Poroshenko was also charged with treason in the coal supplies case - an accusation that he denies.
Poroshenko, who is currently abroad, said on Jan. 6 that he was planning to return to Ukraine on Jan. 17. Prosecutors are seeking to arrest Poroshenko and have asked for Hr 1 billion ($37 million) bail, according to several media reports citing the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Medvedchuk and his ally and lawmaker Taras Kozak were also charged with high treason in May in a case separate from the coal supplies investigation. They were suspected of colluding with the Russian government to extract natural resources in Russian-annexed Crimea.
Medvedchuk was under house arrest in the Crimea case until November.
In February, the National Security and Defense Council imposed sanctions on Medvedchuk and Kozak.
The council also blocked three TV channels officially owned by Kozak but believed to be actually owned by Medvedchuk, which he denies.