Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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    Ukrainian Politicians Face Treason Charges Linked to Giuliani’s Biden Probe

    Ukrainian police and prosecutors have leveled accusations of treason against two politicians and a former prosecutor, alleging collaboration with a Russian intelligence agency in support of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s previous attempts to link the Biden family to corruption in Ukraine.

    The individuals implicated in this case include Kostyantyn Kulyk, a former Ukrainian deputy prosecutor general who, in 2019, drafted a memo suggesting Ukraine investigate Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, for his role on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Also accused are Oleksandr Dubinsky, a current member of Ukraine’s Parliament, and Andriy Derkach, a former member, who publicly advocated for an investigation into Hunter Biden and promoted a debunked theory about Ukraine meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

    The charges brought against the trio include treason and involvement in a criminal organization, focusing on “information-subversive activities” in 2019 before the American presidential election. The indictment, however, does not specify if or when these activities ceased.

    Leading up to the 2020 U.S. election, both Rudolph W. Giuliani and former President Donald J. Trump encouraged Ukrainian officials to pursue allegations against Hunter Biden. This effort included a phone call from Trump to President Volodymyr Zelensky in July 2019, urging an investigation into the Bidens while the Trump administration withheld military aid for Ukraine.

    Critics argue that pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens was politically motivated, aiming to damage Joe Biden’s chances in the 2020 presidential election. Trump and Giuliani denied any impropriety, with Trump describing his call to Zelensky as “perfect,” attributing the withholding of military aid to concerns about corruption in the Ukrainian government.

    These events resulted in Trump’s first impeachment in the House of Representatives, leading to acquittal in the Senate. Ukrainian media suggests that the recent indictments may have a political motive for President Zelensky, signaling a commitment to rooting out accused Russian agents amid current negotiations for military assistance from the U.S.

    According to Ukrainian police and intelligence, the accused individuals were members of a spy network within the Ukrainian government, allegedly orchestrated by Russia’s military intelligence agency, the G.R.U. The statement indicates that the Russians paid the group $10 million, with one member, Ihor Kolesnikov, already detained and convicted on treason charges.

    Two members, Derkach and Kulyk, fled Ukraine after Russia’s invasion in 2022, while Dubinsky remains in pretrial detention. In response, Dubinsky claimed the accusations lacked evidence and were retribution for his criticism of Zelensky’s government. He had been expelled from Zelensky’s political party in 2021 after U.S. sanctions for meddling in American politics.

    The Ukrainian intelligence agency’s statement alleges that Kulyk, in his role as deputy prosecutor general, used his position to promote investigations that favored the Kremlin without specifying particular cases. Kulyk had previously compiled a dossier in 2018 asserting evidence of corruption by Joe Biden, contributing to Giuliani’s efforts to press for an investigation in Ukraine.

    The accusations against Kulyk regarding illegal enrichment and ties to Russia had been reported in Ukrainian media and anti-corruption watchdog groups, dating back to 2016 when he faced charges for owning assets beyond his official salary’s means, including a car purchased by the father of a military commander on the Russian side in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

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