Photo by Viktor Bystrov on Unsplash

The Ukrainian oligarch and MP could face 15 years in jail. However, it is still unclear what will happen at this point. 

The Pro-Russian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk and Taras Kozak, who are both members of the Ukrainian parliament, were charged with high treason this week for sharing secret information with Russia. Ukrainenu wrote a longer piece on the matter recently, when it was unclear whether Medvedchuk had fled Ukraine to avoid trial. Yesterday, however, he showed up at the prosecution’s office for questioning. 

He was afterward placed under house arrest until the 9th of July while awaiting trial. The Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova have shown several tapes, where Medvedchuk, who is the leader of the pro-Russian party Opposition Platform – For Life, talked to the deputy head of Putin’s about sensitive information, such as geological information about resources in Crimea and the location of Ukrainian troops.

Medvedchuk has denied any wrongdoing and said that the case is politically motivated and that he will do what he can to fight the case. Investigators noted that Taras Kozak is believed to be out of Ukraine. They both face three charges. Firstly, illegal transfer of a gas field to Russia. Secondly, providing Russia with information about state secrets and thirdly for conducting subversive activities against Ukraine, according to the news agency Unian

Russia reacts to Medvedchuk case

Putin is the godfather for Medvedchuk’s daughter, and many expect to see a reaction from the Kremlin after the arrest of Medvedchuk. Yesterday, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Kremlin is following the case for now. 

“We don’t plan to interfere in these procedures; this is Ukraine’s internal affair. However, we are closely following these developments. We would like to make sure that this case is not based on political persecution, and this is not a campaign stemming from someone’s desire to get rid of political rivals,” Peskov said to Tass

He furthermore elaborated and said that such persecution is unacceptable “from the standpoint of the spirit and letter of democracy” and that Medvedchuk simply is a politician trying to better the relationship between Russia and Ukraine. 

What we know about Ukraine’s high treason charges against lawmakers Medvedchuk and Kozak

Several arrests have taken place in Kyiv

Volodymyr Fesenko, chairman of the Penta Center of Applied Political Studies, recently said that the case against Medvedchuk could be a new beginning for the reform work in Ukraine. He said that the case sends a signal to all law enforcement in Ukraine and that it will be “pushing law enforcers to boast of their results.”

It is hard to say whether it is related. Still, more than 60 searches against people suspected of corruption, tax evasion, fraud, and abuse of office have taken place in Kyiv in the last three days, according to Kyiv Post. 11 people are charged. Among them, people close to Kyiv Mayor Klitschko. 

“What is happening now is pressure on the city authorities and the suppression of local self-governance,” said Klitschko, “It’s pressure on me personally.”