Ukraine’s fifth president Petro Poroshenko, the main political rival of current president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has returned to Ukraine, where he faces treason charges after a series of international meetings “to defend Ukraine” in order to, in his own words, “battle them [the government of Volodymyr Zelenskyy – Ed.] in court. Immediately after the arrival, he proceeded to court with thousands of his supporters, who met him near the airport.
His flight from Warsaw arrived at 9 a.m on 17 January. In the airplane, Poroshenko gave interviews to journalists who were traveling aboard after meeting him in Warsaw.
Poroshenko aboard the airplane. Photo from his twitter
On 20 December, Poroshenko was charged with state treason , for alleged facilitation of coal purchases from occupied areas on Donbas in 2015. He denies any wrongdoing. The charges are the latest in the row of about 100 criminal cases opened against Poroshenko since 2019 and investigated by Zelenskyy-controlled State Bureau of Investigations.
In our previous article, we have collected the arguments of both sides as expressed by prosecutors and Poroshenko’s lawyers:
Poroshenko claims he was prevented from returning to Ukraine
According to previous statements by Poroshenko’s lawyers, the entire criminal proceeding is designed to turn Poroshenko into a political emigrant.
After the latest charges were presented to Poroshenko on 20 December 2021, he indeed left Ukraine for what he said was a series of international meetings to defend Ukraine. He promised to return to Ukraine on 17 January to defend himself in the court what we see is happening now.
Poroshenko returned to Ukraine by a flight from Warsaw at 9:10 a.m. As reported , border guards took his passport for a routine check, which usually lasts seconds but did not return it for about 15 minutes. Poroshenko said the border guards and investigators of the DBR tried to prevent him from returning to Ukraine while DBR denies this, saying the longer-than-usual checks are needed because of criminal proceedings against Poroshenko.
As reported by Ukrayinska Pravda , as soon as information was disseminated that Poroshenko’s passport had been taken away by the border guards, his supporters, which gathered near the airport, rushed to the main entry.
Після того, як на екрані показали, що у Порошенка забирають паспорт, його прихильники масово хлинули до виходу з аеропорту. pic.twitter.com/ERLzxr5VA5
— Українська правда ✌️ (@ukrpravda_news) January 17, 2022
Poroshenko said in a comment:
“Law enforcement officers, some of whom were disguised as border guards, tried to prevent me from entering Ukraine, confiscated my passport because they suspected that I was not Poroshenko. They were checking my biometric passport for more than 15 minutes.”
Rally of Poroshenko’s supporters
As during the previous court hearings of 2020, when the guilt of Poroshenko in other cases was not recognized by the court, thousands of Poroshenko’s supporters gather near the airport to defend the politician from what they believe is political persecution.
They chanted “Poroshenko,” “Protect democratic future of Ukraine,” “We need democracy,” as well as portraits of Zelenskyy with the inscription “dictator.”
Poroshenko speaks to his supporters near the airport after his return to Ukraine. Source: Ukrayinska pravda
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