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Ukrainian opposition leader Medvedchuk says charges against him politically motivated

Another party leader, Yuri Boyko, said Medvedchuk’s statement was strictly in line with the Minsk agreements

KIEV, February 5. /TASS/. A leader of Ukraine’s Opposition Platform - For Life, Viktor Medvedchuk, on Tuesday described the ongoing state treason investigation against him as "political persecution."

Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office launched a criminal case against Medvedchuk, who is the chairman of the party’s political council. According to prosecutors, during his party congress speech on January 29, Medvedchuk spoke of "the need to establish the so-called ‘autonomous Donbass region’ with its own parliament and government," which runs counter to Section 1 of the Ukrainian Constitution, under which the country is a unitary state.

"Political repressions have continued throughout all those years [after the February 2014 state coup], including political repressions against me," Medvedchuk said, commenting on the situation.

He described the charges as "absurd and groundless."

"The nonsense in the Prosecutor General’s Office statement and the nonsense which has been written in this document demonstrates that this situation has nothing to do with the rule of law," the opposition leader said.

"I have expressed my plan for peaceful settlement, for the end of hostilities in Ukraine, in Donbass, which is the plan supported by the Opposition Platform - For Life party and the plan of our presidential candidate Yuri Boyko. Naturally, the government did not like it and they have been doing their best to prevent reconciliation, including by means of political persecution," he said.

"Those in power will naturally try every trick in the book, but it does not mean they have legitimate grounds to do so," Medvedchuk added.

Similar views were expressed in a statement, issued by the party earlier in the day.

"The attack against Viktor Medvedchuk demonstrates that the party of war’s greatest fear is the implementation of the Medvedchuk plan, the reconciliation in eastern Ukraqine, the return of Donbass to Ukraine and of Ukraine to Donbass. The prosecutors’ readiness to pursue such absurd charges clearly demonstrates that the government is ready to take all measures to persecute the Opposition Platform - For Life party, whose candidate is their main ideological rival in the upcoming presidential election," the statement reads.

Another party leader, Yuri Boyko, said Medvedchuk’s statement was strictly in line with the Minsk agreements on eastern Ukrainian reconciliation, signed by the Kiev government as well. The agreements envisage not only ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weaponry, political amnesty and resumption of economic ties, but also a profound constitutional reform in Ukraine that should lead to decentralization of power and special status for Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

"None of Viktor Medvedchuk’s statements of which I’m aware was in breach of the Minsk agreements signed by all states parties to the Normandy process. That’s why I think that it is nothing but pressure on the dissenters, on those who want peace, and it is nothing unusual. If this warmongering rhetoric dominates in the parliament, it’s a dead-end road. This rhetoric will take us nowhere," Boyko told reporters of the 112 Ukraine TV channel.