Viktor Medvedchuk testified against the leader of the European Solidarity party. What do his revelations mean for former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko? Lawyers hastened to call Medvedchuk’s testimony “a PR of the SBU.”
People’s Deputy of Ukraine Viktor Medvedchuk, arrested on suspicion of high treason and assistance to terrorism, actively cooperates with the SBU and testifies.
He spoke about the scheme for withdrawing from state ownership a part of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline in order to further pump diesel fuel through it, detailing the role of former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in it, and about the purchase of coal from the “LNR/DNR” in 2014-2015.
Medvedchuk’s testimony noted that the ex-president, in his personal interests, oversaw these schemes and, at certain stages, was involved in their implementation. He claims that, wanting to get the pipeline, Poroshenko asked him to negotiate with the Russian leadership on the sale of a section of the pipeline by Transneft. Using administrative resources, he ensured that the company’s rights to the “pipe” were challenged in a Ukrainian court.
The oil pipeline cost the ex-president $23 million and generated a profit of about $42 million in the first year. It is worth noting that the line stopped pumping diesel in May 2019, after the end of Poroshenko’s presidential term. Further, Medvedchuk spoke in detail about coal purchases:
“In fact, the entire top of the state apparatus was involved in this, starting with the president and ending with ministers, law enforcement officers and those who directly implemented this scheme.”
Losing hope in exchange the politician named by name the high-ranking officials involved in the scheme of the coal purchase mechanism in the “LDNR” (period 2014-2015) – Makar Paseniuk, Valeria Gontareva, Igor Kononenko, Vladimir Demchishin, Prosecutor General, head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs:
“Poroshenko, with the help of his subordinates – Demchyshyn (former Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine), Valeria Gontareva (former head of the National Bank of Ukraine) – built a system under which coal was to be sold in Ukraine.”
According to Medvedchuk, Gontareva insisted on paying for coal in cash, although it was originally planned to use a bank transfer. The then deputy head of the SBU, Vasily Gritsak, who was part of the former president’s close circle, ensured the delivery of “cash” to the “LDNR”. He was later promoted and appointed by Poroshenko as head of the intelligence agency.
The Security Service of Ukraine claims that during such a “successful” cooperation, the “LDNR” structures sold coal worth more than UAH 200 million. Cash, mind you, which replenished the treasury of the unrecognized republics.
Recall that long before the war, Medvedchuk was sent to court under house arrest on the “coal” business. After the Russian invasion began in February of this year, he fled, according to the SBU, and was arrested April 12. Poroshenko was not detained before the war, the court decided to release him “on personal obligations.” The decision was seen as a painful political defeat for Zelenskiy and evidence that he already has poor control over the situation in the country. But … the war broke out and completely changed the situation.
The rating of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is now very high. And the popularity of opposition politicians, including Poroshenko, is rapidly falling. Under such conditions, Bankovaya can afford tough measures against opponents, and even having the testimony of such a witness as Viktor Medvedchuk. He is talkative and can tell a lot of interesting things, the publication emphasizes. “The country”.
Meanwhile, surrounded by the ex-president, says “Ukrainian Truth”, called the accusations pressure from the authorities on the court, which is just now deciding the fate of his property, and an attempt by Bankova to divert attention from his own mistakes made during the hostilities. However, experts argue that the situation for Poroshenko is deteriorating – both politically and legally. And somewhere there, on the horizon, it is already possible to consider a guilty verdict against the ex-president. But just recently it seemed incredible.
However, it is worth recognizing that the situation in the country is rather complicated, and Poroshenko himself is still the owner of TV channels and is quite capable of inflicting a tangible information blow. The statements of his lawyers, in response to the publication of Medvedchuk’s new testimony, demonstrated that the ex-president’s line of defense has remained the same: the investigation is called legally insignificant and politically motivated.
Lawyers called Medvedchuk’s testimony “a PR SBU” that has “nothing to do with truth and law,” and their publication on May 23 is associated with a court session at which a petition to seize Poroshenko’s property is to be considered that day (pressure on the court). Poroshenko’s fellow party members are talking about his political persecution. The reason is the party’s criticism of the actions of the country’s leadership in the war, and not only. Vladimir Ariev, for example, wrote on his Facebook page (without cuts):
“When you, as the Supreme Commander, accumulate a bunch of questions, for example:
- who allowed the rashists to leave the Crimea, easily capture the Kherson region and surround Mariupol?
- why didn’t they organize defense from the north, where the “rashists” stood for a year, because of which half of the Kyiv region was destroyed?
- why didn’t he hear the Western partners and instead of the army continued to spend money on roads, which were later destroyed by the aggressor?
When there are no answers to these and other questions, command Bakanov to destroy the unity of political forces and release Medvedchuk with lies. Now, like Chaus once, he will say anything about Poroshenko.”
Eurosolidarity released a statement calling Medvedchuk’s testimony “information sabotage in the interests of Russia”:
“There is no doubt that the customers wrote the words about Poroshenko to Medvedchuk, which is why he read them from the prompter. The ‘payment’ for these ‘testimonies’ was a transfer to better conditions of stay and the promise of an exchange.”
Political scientist Vadim Karasev believes that, from a legal point of view, Poroshenko’s position is deteriorating, and the freedom of the ex-president may be in question:
“The situation is serious. The criminal process, apparently, is moving towards unpleasant court decisions for Poroshenko, including a guilty verdict. In any case, there are persistent rumors about this in political circles.”
However, according to political scientist Ruslan Bortnik, the West can stand up for him, and Poroshenko will not end up behind bars:
“The restriction of Poroshenko’s freedom, not to mention his “imprisonment”, threatens the fragile political system of Ukraine. The story of the pro-Western President Saakashvili, who ended up in prison upon his return to Georgia, will be repeated. I don’t think that such a repetition is beneficial for the West. its radical wing, which, unlike the Saakashvili case, is capable of creating problems for the authorities.”
Although Karasev disagrees with him:
“The West can allow Zelensky to bring the Poroshenko trial to an end. Today, the Ukrainian president has a different authority among the Western elites than during the Poroshenko trial in January of this year.”
But both experts are sure that the threat to Poroshenko’s positions in the establishment has increased significantly:
“If the court decides to seize Poroshenko’s assets, this will have consequences not only in the economic, but also in the political plane. There will be a political and economic pogrom of Poroshenko’s “empire”, his name will be discredited. Now Poroshenko is the second leader in popular support, about the interview with which the leading Western media are negotiating. The arrest, not to mention the imprisonment of Poroshenko, means a serious shake-up of the political system and a regrouping of forces. The Eurosolidarity party is waiting for the sunset, because it is holding on to Poroshenko. A struggle will begin for its voter, it claims to be the lion’s share” Servant of the people.”
However, Poroshenko will not give up without a fight, experts say. For example, one of the claims against the current government may be the topic of the transit of Russian oil and gas through Ukraine to EU. Poroshenko can accuse the Ukrainian authorities that, while demanding from the EU to impose an embargo on the purchase of Russian oil and gas, they continue to pump them through the territory of Ukraine instead of “cutting off the pipe.” The first hint of this from Poroshenko has already sounded – he proposed to block the transit of oil through the Druzhba pipeline.
However, Poroshenko runs the risk of blaming the authorities: they can interpret such behavior as treason by applying harsh measures of influence – confiscation of property, closing channels and a prison term. And it is worth arguing whether Western partners will stand up for him in such a situation.
Recall that in the Kremlin denied the possibility of an exchange Medvedchuk on the military from Azovstal. Arrested on charges of high treason and aiding terrorism, he cooperates with the SBU and testifies. The security service continues investigative actions with the detainee in order to establish all the facts, circumstances, organizers and participants in the crimes committed. The SBU published a video with the politician’s confessions.