Photo from UNIAN, Oleksandr Synytsia
Ukrainian MP with the Opposition Platform – For Life, Viktor Medvedchuk, was negotiating coal purchases from the occupied areas of eastern Ukraine's Donbas back in 2014, at the onset of Russian aggression.
That's according to the latest investigation by BIHUS.info who have released the third part of the so-called "Medvedchuk tapes."
Medvedchuk has reportedly persuaded the then-President Petro Poroshenko, to assist him in the matter, and the latter allegedly allowed the National Bank to transfer funds to a designated bank account. However, the Russian side was against such option and demanded that cash be delivered to the occupied Donbas, the report claims.
Read also Another leaked tape of Medvedchuk's call with Russian officials reveals extent of MP's mediating role Medvedchuk has reportedly also offered a barter option – coal for food supplies – which was also rejected.
The investigation also mentions Medvedchuk's talks with the then Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Kozak, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, and Russian President Vladimir Putin's aide Vladislav Surkov. Also, Medvedchuk's leaked calls with the leaders of the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic" ("DPR") have been made public.
Journalists claim Medvedchuk managed to agree on cash supplies to the occupied territories, reportedly in coordination with the SBU. The first tranche is said to have been delivered on December 31, while the second was to come on January 5, 2015. Medvedchuk's profit was reportedly ensured by an intermediary firm.
"We guarantee delivery here since the first deputy head of the SBU is part of my group. He will guarantee the supply up to the checkpoints. And then we transfer... The cashier receives money in Mariupol and Lysychansk, and accompanies it with the security team to the checkpoints. After that, the security team is replaced," Medvedchuk purportedly told Kozak.
The then SBU Head Valentyn Nalyvaichenko told journalists he was unaware of the cash transfer at the time: "I know nothing about this. I have a negative attitude to [such] trade."
Read also Recordings of alleged calls by Medvedchuk being examined by SBU The press service of the European Solidarity Party (led by Petro Poroshenko) in a comment to the Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper has decried the journalists' report, calling it "fake news by the current authorities."
Ukraine's energy industry was in critical condition in 2014, they said, due to the lack of coal, and therefore it was decided to purchase coal from the occupied Donbas.
At the same time, Poroshenko's press service says deals were struck only with the enterprises operating in the Ukrainian legal field.