Saturday, May 25, 2024

Russia puts Ukraine president on wanted list

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared on the Russian Interior Ministry’s wanted list on Saturday. The exact offense he is charged with remains unclear.

The ministry’s website says the Ukrainian president is wanted under an article of Russia’s Criminal Code and contains his full name and photograph, as well as his date and place of birth. No data has been released about criminal proceedings against him.

The development comes a day after the head of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, Aleksandr Litvinenko, was also put on Russia’s wanted list. He took the position over from his predecessor Aleksey Danilov in March. In this instance, too, no charge details have been specified.

In April, Litvinenko claimed it was necessary to launch drone strikes deep inside Russian territory, to exert “pressure” on Moscow. He described this tactic as a key element of Kiev’s strategy.

Moscow has repeatedly accused Kiev of employing terrorist methods throughout the ongoing conflict between the two neighbors. Last month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said threats by Zelensky to destroy Russian civilian infrastructure were proof of his government’s terrorist intentions.

Peskov was responding to the president’s statements concerning the Crimean Bridge, which has already been targeted in two major bomb attacks, each leading to several civilian deaths.

Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko was also placed on the wanted list on Saturday. Again, no details about a case against him have been made public so far.

Poroshenko took office in June 2014, as the post-Maidan coup Ukrainian government was using military force in its attempt to quash a rebellion in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions. He was also the one to sign the Minsk Agreements, aimed at reconciling Kiev with the two Donbass republics that refused to recognize the post-coup government.

In 2023, Poroshenko claimed that the accords were used to buy extra time to arm Ukraine. The former president said that he turned to NATO to prepare for a conflict instead of following the Minsk Agreements’ peace roadmap.

On Friday, Ukraine’s former finance minister, Aleksandr Shlapak, and the nation’s former central bank head, Stepan Kubiv, were also put on Russia’s list of wanted persons. Although details about their criminal cases remain unclear, the Russian Investigative Committee had earlier charged both former officials with financing Kiev’s military crackdown on Donbass back in 2014. The operation marked the beginning of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ shelling of populated areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

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