The State Investigation Bureau tried to hand a summons to ex-President Petro Poroshenko in a case into treason and aiding terrorist groups in Russian-occupied areas of the Donbas.
The bureau said detectives had attempted to give him the summons in front of the Verkhovna Rada on Dec. 17 but he fled. The bureau posted a video in which its detectives approach Poroshenko’s car and tell him “take the summons, please.” Poroshenko can be heard shouting from inside the car “let’s f*cking go!” and the car drives away.
Poroshenko's European Solidarity party said he had left Ukraine for an official visit to Turkey.
The case concerns the organization of coal supplies to Ukraine's state-owned enterprises from Russian-occupied areas in the coal-rich Donbas in 2014-2015. The key suspect in the case is Viktor Medvedchuk, co-leader of the pro-Kremlin Opposition Platform - For Life party and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's right-hand man in Ukraine. Medvedchuk denied the allegations.
Sources cited by several Ukrainian media and Viktor Trepak, an ex-deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), have claimed that Poroshenko may soon be charged in the coal supplies case.
Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party lambasted the case as political and fabricated.
"We know very well that the organizer (of the case) is (President) Volodymyr Zelensky, who is constantly pressuring the heads of law enforcement agencies," the party said. "Petro Poroshenko’s lawyers have publicly responded to all arguments regarding the politically motivated 'coal supplies case' and proved that is absolutely unfounded."
In September-November, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the State Investigation Bureau charged businessman Serhiy Kuzyara, Medvedchuk and Volodymyr Demchyshyn, who was energy minister in 2014-2016 under Poroshenko, in the coal supplies case.
Medvedchuk allegedly held negotiations with Russia and its proxies, as well as with the Poroshenko administration on the coal supplies, according to the investigators.
Ex-lawmaker Oleksandr Onyshchenko, a former ally of Poroshenko, claimed in 2016 that the former president's top associate and lawmaker Ihor Kononenko had been getting $20 per ton from coal supplies coming from the Russian-occupied Donbas. Kononenko did not respond to requests for comment.
Medvedchuk and Poroshenko previously denied wrongdoing.
Tapes released by the Bihus.info investigative journalism project in June revealed new information on relations between Poroshenko and Medvedchuk.
Specifically, Medvedchuk has allegedly discussed introducing an intermediary company, believed to be controlled by Poroshenko, into Ukrainian power supplies to the Russian-annexed Crimea. Medvedchuk has also allegedly delayed a prisoner of war exchange with Russia and its proxies in order to help Poroshenko stage a publicity stunt with a Ukrainian prisoner, Bihus.info reported.
Moreover, Medvedchuk held negotiations on natural gas supplies with Russia on Poroshenko’s behalf, according to the tapes.
Crackdown on Medvedchuk and Poroshenko
Dozens of investigations were opened against Poroshenko since Zelensky came to power in 2019.
However, he was officially charged only in one case in June 2020: Poroshenko is suspected of abusing his power by appointing Serhiy Semochko as deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service in violation of procedure. Since then, the case has seen no progress.
In February, the National Security and Defense Council imposed sanctions on Medvedchuk and his ally Taras Kozak. The council also blocked three TV channels officially owned by Kozak but believed to be actually owned by Medvedchuk, which he denies.
Medvedchuk and Kozak were 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 and Kozak denied the allegations.