Ukraine: ex-president Poroshenko flees the country

Former Ukrainian head of state Petro Poroshenko, who is facing trial for high treason, has left the country. The businessman is accused of having financed "terrorist activities" by buying coal worth millions in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine. Commentators criticise both the charges and the escape.

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NV (UA) /

Kyiv has shot itself in the foot

Writing in NV, investment banker Serhiy Fursa fears the move will damage Ukraine's image in these critical times:

“You don't have to love Poroshenko. But at a time when the country needs an international coalition to oppose Putin, it doesn't make much sense to cast Ukraine as a state which resorts to political persecution. Yet that is exactly how the suspicions against Poroshenko will be perceived in the West. ... Ukraine is an outpost of democracy on the border with Russia. And that is precisely why we are being supported. Sometimes even against our own interests. But how do you explain to the average Western citizen that there is political persecution in an outpost of democracy?” (UA) /

Suddenly all that counts is saving his skin

Poroshenko's escape is an act of cowardice, former Ukrainian defence minister Anatoly Grizenko writes on

“Now he's sent videos from abroad saying he'll be back in mid-January. He will remain outside the country for almost a month. This is the same man who just a week ago was making loud statements on TV about the war and the crisis, calling for immediate emergency meetings of MPs, the National Security and Defence Council and the government. But now that there's been an attempt to serve him with a summons, the war and the crisis are already out of sight, out of mind? All that counts now is saving his skin by fleeing the country and then complaining about 'political persecution'?”