Petro Poroshenko came out dry from coal – Mir – Kommersant

The session of the Pechersky District Court of Kiev ended on Wednesday with an important, albeit intermediate, victory for ex-president Petro Poroshenko: he was not arrested, but released on personal obligations. The former head of state is suspected of committing treason and financing terrorism when supplying coal from the part of Donbass not controlled by the Ukrainian authorities in 2014-2015. Kommersant’s interlocutors in Kiev consider the court’s decision a sign of the weakness of the authorities, which could back down under the onslaught of the ex-president’s supporters. At the same time, they note, it is only about “the beginning of a long series.”

The meeting of the Pechersky District Court of Kiev on the so-called coal case went well for Petro Poroshenko. The court released him on personal obligations, ordering him to surrender his foreign passport. This is the mildest measure of restraint possible. The prosecutor’s office insisted on the arrest of the ex-president (and now a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada) with the possibility of making a bail in the amount of 1 billion hryvnia (about $37 million).

They began to choose a preventive measure for Petro Poroshenko on January 17. On the morning of that day, the ex-president returned from abroad, where he hastily left on December 17 – immediately after an unsuccessful attempt by law enforcement officers to hand him a subpoena. The meeting dragged on until midnight. The defense insisted that the procedure for assigning the status of a suspect to their client was held with violations, which means that the court should not consider the petition of the prosecutors. Judge Andrei Sokolov stayed in the deliberation room for more than five hours, but did not announce his decision. The meeting was rescheduled for Wednesday.

Recall that in December last year, Petro Poroshenko became a defendant in the case of organizing an illegal coal supply scheme from Donbass. We are talking about the same case in which Viktor Medvedchuk, the head of the political council of the pro-Russian party Opposition Platform – For Life, who is now under house arrest, is being accused. In particular, the ex-president is suspected that in 2014-2015 he, acting in collusion with a group of people (including the top leadership of the Russian Federation), facilitated “the activities of terrorist organizations of the LPR and DPR.” The investigation believes that the actions of the politician fall under the articles on treason, the financing of terrorism and the creation of a terrorist organization.

Petro Poroshenko did not hide his joy at the court decision. Immediately after it was announced, he, along with his associates in the European Solidarity party and his wife Marina, sang the national anthem.

“We have demonstrated that we are not afraid of them,” he said. “We do not celebrate the victory, because the crazy scenario (of President Vladimir of Ukraine.— “b”) Zelensky as a complete inadequate has not yet been completed.” He indicated that he intends to continue his political activities and appeal against the court’s decision to confiscate his passport. At the same time, Petro Poroshenko called on the authorities to unity, noting that his real enemy is Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Ukraine and the behavior of the aggressor require a national consensus,” the deputy stressed.

Several thousand of his supporters came out to support Petro Poroshenko at the courthouse. They held posters with the inscriptions: “Hands off Poroshenko”, “No to political repressions” and “Zelensky is a dictator”, and also chanted: “Shame!”, “Together to victory!” and “There is gunpowder – let’s give fire!”. “Today this is our front, the front of the struggle for our state, because while our boys and girls are defending Ukraine in the east, we need to win back Ukraine here! Alexey Goncharenko, a fellow party member of the ex-president, shouted from the threshold of the courthouse. “When the whole world is fighting Putin, Zelensky is fighting Poroshenko. This is the moment today, and the whole world is shocked.”

Unlike Monday, this time the rally was uneventful. A few hours before the meeting, clashes with the police began. They were caused by the fact that law enforcement officers tried to push the protesters away from the tents and take away the barrels in which supporters of Petro Poroshenko wanted to light a fire to keep warm.

After the court’s decision was announced, the protesters did not disperse, but led by deputies from the European Solidarity, marched in a victorious procession towards the office of the President of Ukraine.

There they began to chant “Zelya away!”, referring to President Zelensky.

Director of the Ukrainian Institute of Politics Ruslan Bortnik, in an interview with Kommersant, admitted that the figure of Judge Sokolov could have influenced the court’s decision. He recalled that he was appointed to the post in 2017, during the presidency of Petro Poroshenko. “Among other possible factors are certain pressure from Western partners, the streets, the difficult situation around the Prosecutor General’s Office,” the expert noted. “It’s clear that this decision can hit the authorities’ ratings, as it will cause disappointment among many Ukrainians and will be perceived as an element of weakness . Moreover, this decision is illogical from a legal point of view: in relation to other defendants in the case, including Medvedchuk, a tougher preventive measure was applied.” Therefore, according to Mr. Bortnik, most likely, the prosecutor’s office will appeal the court’s decision. “In essence, the case is not yet considered. This is just the beginning of a long series called “How Petro Poroshenko Traded the Country When Ukrainian Soldiers Died in Debaltseve,” he added.

“President Zelensky hoped that Poroshenko would run away (abroad.— “b”) and will not return. Here you just need to know the character of Peter Alekseevich. But he returned, and this story is unpleasant for everyone,” Ukrainian political strategist Dmitry Raimov, who is close to the ruling Servant of the People party, told Kommersant. social tension on the eve of a possible war. The court heard that there was no “face” command and decided to respond as gently as possible. As a result, everyone is in an uncomfortable position.”

Now, according to the expert, the authorities will try to drag out the trial as much as possible in order to reduce the degree of tension and bring the sentence to Mr. Poroshenko before the presidential and parliamentary elections.

“The authorities, obviously, wanted to arrest Poroshenko, but the Ukrainian society did not allow it, so the authorities took the soft path,” Aleksey Goncharenko, in turn, shared his opinion with Kommersant. Speaking about the future, the European Solidarity MP expressed confidence that the pressure of the Ukrainian authorities on political opponents would continue. At the same time, noting that “Ukraine is not Russia,” he made it clear that such pressure would not help Volodymyr Zelensky achieve his goals.

Marina Kovalenko

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