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Defiant Poroshenko vows to fight treason charges  — and Russia – POLITICO

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Petro Poroshenko, the previous president of Ukraine charged with excessive treason, isn’t backing down — and he positive isn’t apologizing.

Quite the opposite, in a free-wheeling interview with POLITICO on Thursday, the ex-president stated he’s prepared to fight.

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First on his checklist is Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, in Poroshenko’s phrases, is the “enemy of Ukraine … enemy of Europe, enemy of the entire free world.”

Subsequent are the treason charges, which he insists had been introduced as a part of a political vendetta in opposition to him by his successor, and rival, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. “Bullshit,” Poroshenko stated of the accusations. “Judicial trash.”

And at last, there are the critics who accuse him of placing his personal pursuits forward of his nation’s by barreling into Brussels this week and drawing consideration to Ukraine’s inner political divisions, simply as NATO allies had been linking arms to confront Russia over its big navy buildup on the Ukrainian border.

“Timing is superb — timing for the go to, for the decision to unity,” Poroshenko stated, talking in English at a resort close to the headquarters of the European Folks’s Celebration, his center-right political household.

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Dismissing his detractors, Poroshenko, who’s now a member of parliament in Ukraine and chief of the opposition European Solidarity celebration, stated he was conducting “quiet diplomacy” — meeting with members of the European Parliament and different contacts to supply recommendation on how finest to cope with Russia.

Within the interview, Poroshenko insisted it was Zelenskiy who was undermining Ukrainian unity by permitting a political prosecution that has echoes of the jailing of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko by her nemesis, former President Viktor Yanukovych, or the newer jailing of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia.

Including to the present controversy, the charges in opposition to Poroshenko weren’t signed by the nation’s prosecutor normal, Irina Venediktova, who apparently took a single day of trip in December to keep away from being liable for the case. The charges — Poroshenko is accused of being concerned within the sale of huge quantities of coal that helped finance Russian-backed separatists in Donbass — had been accredited by a deputy prosecutor, Oleksiy Symonenko.

Supporters of Poroshenko have pointed to feedback on Tuesday by Victoria Nuland, the U.S. under-secretary of state for political affairs, as proof that Washington views the felony prosecution as the issue.

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“What I would really like to say to the Ukrainian folks and to Ukrainian management is that nationwide unity is totally important at this second,” Nuland stated at a State Division briefing.

A senior European Fee official expressed exasperation at each the present and former presidents. The official stated Zelenskiy’s authorities was primarily at fault, but additionally referred to as Poroshenko’s go to to Brussels this week “a determined act by a determined man.”

Within the interview, nevertheless, Poroshenko stated nothing may very well be farther from actuality. He famous that he has already pledged to return to Kyiv subsequent Monday, the place he probably faces imminent arrest, and has even publicized his journey plans, on a business jet, in order that journalists can accompany him.

Poroshenko, a billionaire who made his fortune from the Roshen confectionery enterprise, used the hour-long interview to lay out a fierce protection of his report as president, from 2014 to 2019.

“I’m the chief of the opposition,” he stated. “I’m the chief of public assist. I’m the fifth president. I’m the one who, preventing Putin, and with my staff saved Ukraine in probably the most tough years of our historical past. I’m the one who created the military. And I’m the one who [brought] Ukraine a lot nearer to the European Union. I’m the one who put within the Ukrainian structure, European and Euro-Atlantic integration because the route of our overseas coverage.”

Poroshenko additionally made the case that the present charges in opposition to him had been an effort by Zelenskiy to block his participation in future elections, but additionally revenge by the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, a patron and supporter of Zelenskiy.

Throughout Poroshenko’s presidency, the federal government nationalized considered one of Kolomoisky’s prized holdings, Privat Financial institution, then the nation’s largest shopper financial savings financial institution, after investigators discovered enormous accounting irregularities.

Andrius Kubilius, a Lithuanian member of the European Parliament, who met with Poroshenko on Wednesday, stated he hoped Ukraine would put apart its inner fights to deal with the risk from Russia.

“Inner in-fights are very harmful for the nation,” Kubilius stated.

Whereas conceding that he didn’t know particulars of the case, Kubilius added, “This isn’t the primary time when in Jap Partnership nations, politicized justice is utilized by ruling authorities in opposition to leaders of opposition or former presidents and prime ministers. Normally, when these nations begin such sort of inner infighting, they overlook about exterior threats and about their ambitions and reforms for Euro-Atlantic integration.”

Poroshenko, within the interview, unleashed a fierce barrage of criticism in opposition to Zelenskiy, saying he had mismanaged the nation and made just about every little thing worse.

A spokesman for Zelenskiy didn’t return a message searching for remark.

However at the same time as he attacked his political rival, Poroshenko insisted that he would stand shoulder to shoulder with Zelenskiy in opposition to Russia.

“He’s simply my opponent,” Poroshenko stated. “However Putin is my enemy — an enemy of my nation, enemy of Ukraine, and I’m understanding that Putin now’s the enemy of Europe, enemy of the entire free world.”

Poroshenko insisted he made the proper determination in signing the Minsk 2 peace accords, which some analysts say saddled Ukraine with infeasible obligations. Poroshenko stated an in depth studying of the settlement would present that it was Russia who signed on to clear obligations to take away its troops and weapons from japanese Ukraine and to enable Kyiv to restore its management over the areas earlier than holding native elections.

As for the felony case, Poroshenko stated he would return to the Ukrainian capital on Monday and would beat the charges.

“I don’t settle for any type of the politically motivated prosecution,” he stated. “I’ll fight and I’ll win as a result of reality is with me. If I used to be afraid within the yr 2014, I might by no means have stopped Putin. If I used to be afraid in  2014, I can not launch two-thirds of the occupied Donbass. If I used to be afraid in yr 2015 of those oligarchs, I couldn’t cease them. And, positively, I’m not afraid of Zelenskiy.”

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