By Natalia Zinets KYIV (Reuters) -The Ukrainian authorities put Viktor Medvedchuk, the Kremlin’s most distinguished ally in Ukraine, beneath formal suspicion for top treason on Tuesday as a part of a crackdown on his circle that has fueled tensions between Kyiv and Moscow. Prosecutors are looking for to detain Medvedchuk, an opposition occasion chief and businessman, on suspicion of treason and the tried plundering of nationwide sources in Crimea, the territory that was annexed by Russia in 2014.
By natalia zinets
KYIV (Reuters) -The Ukrainian authorities put Viktor Medvedchuk, the Kremlin’s most distinguished ally in Ukraine, beneath formal suspicion for top treason on Tuesday as a part of a crackdown on his circle that has fueled tensions between Kyiv and Moscow.
Prosecutors are looking for to detain Medvedchuk, an opposition occasion chief and businessman, on suspicion of treason and the tried plundering of nationwide sources in Crimea, the territory that was annexed by Russia in 2014.
“Medvedchuk, because the organiser of all this criminality, having robust ties with the management of the Russian Federation, started, in accordance with the investigation, subversive actions in opposition to Ukraine, together with within the financial sphere,” Prosecutor Basic Iryna Venediktova advised a press convention .
As proof, Venediktova and the pinnacle of Ukraine’s safety service mentioned Medvedchuk had enabled Russia to acceptable a gasoline discipline in Crimea that Medvedchuk had obtained a license to discover earlier than the 2014 annexation.
Medvedchuk’s occasion issued an announcement saying the treason investigation and raids on his dwelling have been revenge for Medvedchuk exposing the federal government’s failings.
In a separate assertion, Medvedchuk mentioned the treason case was “fabricated”, including: “I declare that I’m in Ukraine and don’t intend to cover from justice.”
Tuesday’s transfer is a part of a widening crackdown in opposition to Medvedchuk that started in February when he and associates have been put beneath sanctions by Ukraine’s president and three tv channels owned by an ally have been pressured off air.
It comes after months of tensions between Kyiv and Moscow over a build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s jap border and rising clashes in jap Ukraine. The Kremlin has sharply criticized the crackdown on Medvedchuk.
Prosecutors additionally put lawmaker Taras Kozak, Medvedchuk’s political affiliate and the proprietor of the three tv channels that have been positioned beneath restrictions in February, beneath formal suspicion for top treason and are looking for his arrest.
Kozak couldn’t instantly be reached for remark. The pinnacle of Ukraine’s safety service (SBU), Ivan Bakanov, mentioned Medvedchuk was believed to be in Ukraine whereas Kozak was in Russia.
Medvedchuk is a Ukrainian citizen however has shut ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has mentioned the Russian chief is godfather to his daughter. The Kremlin mentioned in February it was alarmed by the sanctions in opposition to him.
Ukraine and Russia have traded blame for escalating clashes in jap Ukraine, the place Ukrainian troops have fought Russian-backed separatist forces in a battle that Kyiv says has killed 14,000 folks since 2014.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s authorities mentioned on Tuesday Russia was nonetheless round 100,000 troopers massed close to Ukraine’s border and in Crimea regardless of saying a troop pullback in April after a standoff that alarmed the West.
America slapped sanctions on Medvedchuk in 2014 and supported the crackdown on the TV channels this yr to “forestall disinformation from being deployed as a weapon in an info battle in opposition to sovereign states.”
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets and Ilya Zhegulev; writing by Matthias Williams; enhancing by Giles Elgood, Alexandra Hudson and Mark Heinrich)
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