Ukraine’s former president was spotted at the border with Poland, allegedly trying to leave as he faces treason charges
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attempted to cross the border into Poland on Friday, Ukrainian media reported citing sources from the state customs service. Volodymyr Zelensky’s predecessor is currently facing treason charges in Kyiv.
Poroshenko showed up at the Rava-Ruska crossing, west of Lvov, in his Range Rover SUV on Friday evening, Ukrainian National News (UNN) and Ukrainskaya Pravda said, citing National Service sources. customs of Ukraine. The border guards stationed there apparently did not want to take responsibility for deciding whether or not to let him leave the country. However, there has been no official confirmation from the border service.
Photos posted on Telegram showed someone resembling Poroshenko talking with several customs officers.
“It’s a political order that looks disgusting,” Ukrainian politician Irina Gerashchenko wrote on Telegram, noting that Poroshenko was prevented from leaving the country even though he had a valid travel letter from parliament to attend the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Lithuania.
Poroshenko is technically still a member of the Ukrainian parliament. In December 2021, the current government accused him of treason in the alleged plan to buy coal from Donbass separatists in 2014-15. He traveled to Turkey when the charges were announced, but pretended to return to Kyiv in January. A court then refused the government’s request to put him in prison, or even under house arrest.
Known as the “Chocolate King”, thanks to his ownership of candy giant Roshen, Poroshenko had amassed a sizable business empire in Ukraine by the 1990s, including shipyards and a television station. The TV station, he would later tell The Washington Post, played a key role in the February 2014 Maidan uprising that toppled President-elect Viktor Yanukovych.
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Poroshenko, who had previously served brief stints as trade and foreign minister under governments led by western Ukrainian politicians, found himself an establishment candidate in the presidential election of May 2014. As President, he led the “Anti-terrorist operation” to crush Donbass separatists by force in the summer of 2014 and again in early 2015. Both attempts ended in disaster for the Ukrainian military, with Kyiv agreeing to a ceasefire brokered in Minsk. Scandal-ridden, Poroshenko lost the 2019 re-election bid in a landslide to Zelensky, who ran on a platform of peace.
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