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Activists blocking Roshen tell president to focus on civil service, not business

October 29, 2017, 3:49 UTC+3 KIEV

The protestors urged Ukrainians to avoid purchasing goods and services produced by Poroshenko's companies

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© Alexander Ryumin/TASS

KIEV, October 29. /TASS/. Activists of the Liberation Movement in Ukraine, who on Saturday besieged a number of facilities owned by the Roshen company owned by the country’s president, called on Pyotr Poroshenko to engage in state affairs, not private business.

According to reports, activists "blocked" the Roshen factory in Vinnitsa and a logistics center in the Kiev Region. Later, activists said the campaign was intended to serve as a warning to the president, and involved a limited number of participants.

Later, activists released a statement on Facebook, saying they were "soldiers and officers of volunteer battalions, National Guard and the Armed Forces of Ukraine," who "have just returned from the area of hostilities only to see lawlessness, graft and deceit around them." They also accused the president of "taking sides with thieves and murderers with a purpose to make wealth together with them."

They also reiterated a demand for the president’s impeachment, earlier voiced by protestors camped outside the Ukrainian parliament building in downtown Kiev.

"The president needs to choose whether he wants to engage in civil service or in business," the statement reads.

The activists assured they were committed to a civilized protest and called on Ukrainians to avoid purchasing goods and services produced by companies owned by Poroshenko.

"He [the president - TASS] is driven first of all by the desire to make profit. That’s why we call on not to purchase goods in his shops, not to use services of his insurance companies and banks, not to pay a single hryvnia to any of the 104 companies mentioned by the president in his tax declaration," the statement reads.

Semen Semenchenko, one of the organizers of protests outside the parliamentary building in Kiev, said the blockade will soon spread to other businesses of Poroshenko, "including transport, agriculture, insurance and media."

"[Campaigns] will be held in other cities as well. The full list will be made public soon. Gradually, participants of the Liberation Movement plan to spread this protest all over the country," Ukrainskaya Pravda quoted the opposition leader as saying.

In line with the constitution of Ukraine, a president is prohibited from being a member of a governing body or the supervisory board of a company whose aim is to generate profit.

During his election campaign, Poroshenko claimed he would sell all his business assets except Ukraine’s Channel Five TV. However, the president still failed to fulfill his promise, drawing anger from various opposition groups. According to earlier media reports, Poroshenko only handed over his share in Roshen to a foreign organization as part of a blind trust deal with Rothschild Trust.

On Thursday, Kiev-based Novoye Vremya [New Times] magazine said Ukraine’s President Pyotr Poroshenko continued beefing up his private wealth. Compared with 2016, Poroshenko increased his wealth by another 7%, to one billion dollars.

Confectionery producer Roshen is the key asset of Poroshenko’s business. The president indicated in the declaration for 2016 that he was a benefiting owner of about a hundred of companies, including the International Investment Bank, Leninskaya’s Kuznya [Lenin’s Foundry] plant, Vneshekonomservis marketing firm, Kraina insurance company, Prime Assets Capital investment fund, and some others.

Novoye Vremya placed him to fifth position on the list of Top 20 Wealthiest Ukrainians.

Earlier this week, protesters camped outside the Ukrainian parliament, Verkhovna Rada, announced a five-day ultimatum to the president. They said the parliament must pass a bill on impeaching the president and on setting up the anti-corruption court within five working days, or face consequences.

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