Kiev, Jan 17 (EFE).- Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko on Monday returned to Kiev to face treason charges in court, which he claims are a political fabrication by his successor Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Poroshenko arrived at Kiev’s Zhuliany Airport where he was greeted by thousands of cheering supporters after a brief standoff at border control, during which he claims border guards confiscated his passport for a few minutes.
The former president headed straight to court, which will rule whether he will be remanded in custody pending investigation and trial.
On December 20, Poroshenko was charged with high treason for allegedly being involved in a sale of large amounts of coal that helped finance Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014-15.
Allegations say the former president, one of Ukraine’s richest businessmen, committed the crime during his presidency from 2014 to 2019.
Poroshenko’s assets have been frozen as part of the investigation and if found guilty, he faces up to 15 years in jail.
The politician denies the accusations, claims they are “politically motivated” and that Zelenskyy is using them to discredit him politically and distract from Ukraine’s current problems.
The charges are the latest of a series of accusations against Poroshenko after his defeat in the 2019 elections.
The trial comes as Russia has been amassing troops on the border with Ukraine amid concerns raised by Kiev and its Western allies that Moscow is planning an invasion. EFE