Ukrainian prosecutors call for ex-president Poroshenko’s arrest

Ukrainian prosecutors call for ex president Poroshenkos arrest

The Kiev prosecutor’s office requested on Monday January 17 the arrest of former President Petro Poroshenko, suspected of “high treason”, or to impose a bond of around 30 million euros on him. A case that risks causing an internal political crisis, in the midst of geopolitical tensions with Russia.

While the Russian threat continues on its borders, Ukraine has again plunged into a politico-judicial psychodrama, of which it has the secret.

The 56-year-old billionaire Petro Poroshenko, former head of state, returned to Ukraine in the morning, after a month of absence, despite the threat of arrest. Greeted by thousands of his supporters gathered in front of the airport, he immediately went to a court in the capital to decide on his possible detention.

Jail or millions in bail

In the afternoon, the prosecutor requested two months of imprisonment, or else a house arrest, accompanied by a travel ban, as well as an electronic bracelet, in exchange for a deposit of 31 million euros. euros. The deliberation was postponed to Wednesday, January 19.

The hatred that Volodymyr Zelensky and Petro Poroshenko have for each other has been public knowledge in Ukraine since the 2019 election. The former president describes the new one as an authoritarian leader, while Volodymyr Zelensky, or at least his entourage, seems determined to to take revenge on Petro Poroshenko, by putting the prosecution on his cases.

In fact, the authorities suspect him of having maintained, during his presidency, business ties with pro-Russian separatists in the East, which would constitute an act of “high treason”, a crime punishable by up to 15 years. from prison. Petro Poroshenko may have negotiated coal purchase agreements with pro-Russian separatists in 2015. Poroshenko accuses his successor of ordering the prosecution against him for “ divert attention of the country’s real problems and tarnish the image of his rival.

A politicized judicial system

In a normal system, it would be up to the courts to decide. The problem is that neither of the two presidents has created the conditions for an independent judicial system, one of the main demands of Ukrainians for years, analyzes our correspondent in Kiev, Stephane Siohan.

Result, once again, the Ukrainian leaders want to neutralize their predecessors or their opponents, by exploiting the courts. A situation that strongly recalls the seven-year prison sentence of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, ten years ago, during the Yanukovych era.

This showdown comes at a time when Ukraine fears being invaded by neighboring Russia which has been massing troops on its borders for months. Moscow denies any plan for a military offensive, but demands, under penalty of reprisals, that Americans and Europeans commit never to accept Ukraine within NATO. A claim so far rejected.