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1 Dec, 2023 18:42

Zelensky rival says he’s banned from leaving Ukraine

Ex-president Poroshenko blamed Kiev for canceling his papers as he tried to enter Poland
Zelensky rival says he’s banned from leaving Ukraine

Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has blamed his successor Vladimir Zelensky for border guards refusing to allow him to leave Ukraine on Friday.

Poroshenko is a member of parliament and leader of the small opposition party European Solidarity. He said he was trying to travel to Poland on official business to champion Kiev’s cause in Warsaw and Washington.

“I have a business trip [order] signed by the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, but the border guards did not let me through,” Poroshenko said on his Telegram channel. “Everyone can guess who canceled the document signed by the Speaker of the Parliament.”

“What happened today at the border is not a minor mischief. This is anti-Ukrainian sabotage” and “a blow to Ukraine's defense capability,” Poroshenko insisted.

According to the former president, he had “dozens of meetings” planned in Poland and the US, trying to end the Polish trucker blockade and get Republicans in the American Congress to secure more funding for the Ukrainian military.

As part of his mission to America, Poroshenko added, he was to be “the only representative of Ukraine” at the International Democracy Union (IDU) summit in Washington, where he was supposed to meet House Speaker Mike Johnson and members of Congress, as well as leaders of the EU, Canada, and the UK.

Blocking him from the trip was a “senseless action” that threatened Ukrainian unity and its “European path,” and made the country look bad in the eyes of its Western partners, the former president complained.

This is not the first time Ukrainian border guards have stopped Poroshenko from leaving the country. He made two attempts to enter Poland in May 2022, also presenting a travel order from the parliament. On that occasion, the guards said his paperwork had an invalid QR code. 

Poroshenko’s travel has been restricted by a Kiev court, as the former president still faces accusations of high treason for allegedly trading with Donbass rebels in 2014-15. The former candy magnate, who became president after the 2014 US-backed Maidan coup, oversaw the initial armed crackdown on Donetsk and Lugansk, which ended in military disaster for Ukraine and the Minsk truce negotiated by France and Germany. He lost the 2019 election to Zelensky, who campaigned on a peace platform.