Petro Poroshenko has been accused of facilitating the financing of separatist forces
The Ukrainian authorities are investigating Petro Poroshenko, the former President of Ukraine for treason. Poroshenko has been accused of facilitating the financing of separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.
Poroshenko served as Ukraine's fifth president from 2014 to 2019. During that time, a conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatist forces broke out in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region. Ukraine's coalmines were located in the Donbas region. When separatist forces seized the region, Ukraine faced an energy crisis from coal shortages.
The Ukraine State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) unveiled the formal investigation of Poroshenko in a statement. SBI accused Poroshenko of facilitating the purchase of coal from separatist forces during 2014-2015. The investigating agency asserted that the former President was involved in a coal-purchasing scheme, which provided 1.5 billion hryvnias (approximately $55 million) to the separatists.
The separatist forces referred to in SBI's statement are the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR). SBI described both groups as terrorist organizations.
It argued that coal purchases made during 2014-2015 resulted in Ukraine becoming dependent upon LPR, DPR and Russia for energy sources. As a result, Russia was given a greater opportunity to interfere in Ukraine's internal affairs.
With the announcement of SBI's formal investigation, Poroshenko becomes the fourth suspect involved in the coal-purchasing scheme. If found guilty, he faces up to 15-years in prison.
Leader of the pro-Russian party, Opposition Platform, Viktor Medvedchuk, Ukraine ex-minister of energy Vladimir Demchishin and businessman Sergei Kuzyara are also under investigation.