New charges of high treason (Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) and aiding the activities of a terrorist organisation (Part 1 of Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) were brought against Viktor Medvedchuk, member of the Parliament of Ukraine and father of Vladimir Putin’s godchild, based on the files of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

This was announced by SBU Chief Ivan Bakanov.

According to the investigation, the charges concern the actions aimed at undermining Ukraine’s energy independence. In particular, after Russia had captured a part of Donbas, Ukraine was on the verge of an energy crisis, so it was decided to buy coal in the world market, in particular, in South Africa.

However, Russia had plans to disrupt the implementation of these contracts and prevent Ukraine from strengthening its own energy independence. Therefore, with the mediation of Medvedchuk, there was a conspiracy with senior officials of Ukraine, who, using the powers of the National Bank and law enforcement agencies, created artificial barriers to coal supplies from South Africa.

In the end, those contracts were terminated, leading to a wave of rolling blackouts in Ukraine.

Subsequently, with Medvedchuk’s assistance, in order to return Ukraine to the orbit of Russian influence, illegal schemes were organised to supply coal from the temporarily occupied territories to the Ukrainian state-owned enterprises.

“It’s a matter of high treason and of that how some Ukrainian politicians and high-ranking officials played on Russia’s side in the midst of the war, neglected Ukraine’s interests and built joint ‘schemes’ with terrorists. It is my clear conviction that these people must bear the deserved and lawful punishment for the damage they did to the state because their actions undermined Ukraine’s energy independence,” Bakanov said at the briefing.

The Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine and the Prosecutor General released a number of audio recordings confirming the existence of the “coal scheme” and the Russian authorities’ interest in it. The expert examination confirmed that Medvedchuk was one of the interlocutors on the recorded conversations, talking about the implementation of illegal schemes to representatives of the Russian authorities. During these talks, the MP announces that he has guarantees from Ukrainian senior officials.

In particular, two actually non-operating coal enterprises were selected in the occupied territory through a person close to Medvedchuk (businessman S. Kuziara). Representatives of “L/DPR” were appointed as their heads; bank accounts were opened for them and coal supply agreements were concluded with them.

Audio recording

These issues were agreed upon, including with the leaders of the militants. During the operation of this scheme, according to the data of law enforcement officers, Russian-backed terrorists were financed to the tune of more than UAH 200 million. “The investigation has a serious body of evidence that confirms the illegal activities of the defendants. We know about the transfer of cash to ‘L/DPR’ and the transfer of funds to enterprises from the occupied territories. Moreover, we see that the plans discussed by the defendants (changing management of enterprises, opening bank branches, etc.) were later implemented,” Bakanov stressed.

He stressed that the investigation was underway, and the issue of serving notices of suspicion to other people was being worked out. The SBU continues this investigation in cooperation with the Prosecutor General’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation.

Natalia Tolub

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