Ukraine accuses officials linked to efforts to investigate Bidens | ET REALITY


Ukrainian police and prosecutors have charged two politicians and a former prosecutor with treason, saying they colluded with a Russian intelligence agency to help an effort by Rudolph W. Giuliani several years ago to link the Biden family to corruption in Ukraine. .

Among those charged is Kostyantyn Kulyk, a former deputy attorney general of Ukraine who had drafted a memo in 2019 suggesting that Ukraine investigate Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, for his role on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

Also involved were a current member of Ukraine’s parliament, Oleksandr Dubinsky, and a former member, Andriy Derkach, who had publicly advocated for an investigation in Ukraine into Hunter Biden. They had also promoted a spurious theory that it was Ukraine, and not Russia, that meddled in the 2016 US presidential election.

The three were accused of treason and membership in a criminal organization. The charges refer to “subversive information activities” and focus on actions carried out in 2019 before the US presidential elections. They do not say if or when the activity stopped.

In the run-up to the 2020 US election, Giuliani and later former President Donald J. Trump had encouraged Ukrainian officials to follow up on allegations against Hunter Biden. The effort included a phone call from Trump to President Volodymyr Zelensky in July 2019 urging him to conduct an investigation into the Bidens, at a time when the Trump administration was withholding military aid to the Ukrainian military.

Critics say the push to investigate the Bidens was politically motivated and aimed at damaging the elder Mr. Biden’s chances against Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Trump and Giuliani denied there was anything inappropriate about their contact with Ukrainian officials, and Trump described his phone call to Zelensky as “perfect.” The administration said military aid to Ukraine was withheld over concerns about corruption in the Ukrainian government.

The events led to Trump’s first impeachment trial in the House of Representatives. He was acquitted in the Senate.

Ukrainian media suggested on Tuesday that the accusations also had a political component for Zelensky: that they were aimed at sending a signal to Biden now, as his administration is pressing Congress to provide military assistance to Ukraine, that Kiev will eliminate accused agents. Russians, including those who had promoted accusations against his family.

In statements released Monday, Ukrainian police and the country’s national intelligence agency said the three men were members of a spy network established within the Ukrainian government and run by Russia’s military intelligence agency, known as the GRU.

The intelligence agency statement said the Russians paid members of the group $10 million. An assistant to Mr. Derkach, Ihor Kolesnikov, was previously detained and convicted of treason.

Two members of the group, Derkach and Kulyk, fled Ukraine after Russia’s large-scale invasion in 2022, according to the statement. Mr. Dubinsky was remanded in custody in a Ukrainian jail on Tuesday.

Dubinsky, in a statement posted on the social networking site Telegram, said prosecutors had “not presented any facts” to support the allegations, and that the charges were retaliation for criticizing Zelensky’s government in his role as a member of Parliament. . He said he testified a year and a half ago as a witness in a treason investigation of Mr. Derkach, but that at that time he had not been charged with a crime.

Dubinsky was expelled from Zelensky’s political party, Servant of the People, in 2021 after the United States sanctioned him for meddling in the American political process.

The Ukrainian intelligence agency statement said Kulyk had used his position in the prosecutor general’s office to promote investigations that worked “in favor of the Kremlin,” without specifying any case.

In late 2018, Kulyk compiled a seven-page dossier in which he claimed that Ukrainian prosecutors had evidence that “could attest to the commission of corrupt actions aimed at illicit personal enrichment by former US Vice President Joe Biden.” ”according to one copy. leaked by a Ukrainian blogger.

The filing suggested that Biden, while serving as vice president, had tried to quash a corruption investigation at the natural gas company Burisma Holdings, where his son was on the board of directors. Kulyk’s former colleagues in the prosecutor’s office confirmed that he had written the document, helping launch an effort by Trump’s personal lawyer Giuliani and other supporters to push for an investigation into Ukraine.

In a phone call with Zelensky that became central to the impeachment case, Trump had asked the Ukrainian president to investigate alleged conflicts of interest by Biden when he was vice president, according to White House notes of the call. Trump denied linking military aid to Ukraine to the Biden family investigation.

Allegations of corruption and ties to Russia had followed Kulyk for years in Ukrainian media and among anti-corruption watchdog groups before he compiled the dossier.

In 2016, he was charged in Ukraine with illegal enrichment for owning apartments and cars that appeared to be beyond the reach of his modest official salary. One car, a Toyota Land Cruiser, had been purchased by the father of a military commander fighting on the Russian side in the war in eastern Ukraine.

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