The State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is probing into alleged complicity involving Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest ally in Ukraine, Ukrainian Member of Parliament with the Opposition Platform For Life Party Viktor Medvedchuk and his associate Taras Kozak, who owns three TV channels, NewsOne, ZIK and 112 Ukraine, which are now under sanctions.
This information was shared by journalist Valeriy Kalnysh on Facebook on March 11 in a copy of a written response to an inquiry filed by ex-secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksiy Danylyuk.
The case was opened under Part 1 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine on violations of the laws or customs of war, which foresees imprisonment from eight to twelve years.
The Prosecutor General added this case to the register of pretrial investigations on March 1, after the NSDC imposed sanctions on Kozak and Medvedchuk on February 20.
"On March 1, 2021, the Prosecutor General entered data into the State Register of Pretrial Investigations on the fact that representatives of the leadership of the aggressor country, the Russian Federation, M., K. and related persons had, by complicity, committed actions under Part 1 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine," the document says.
Medvedchuk was earlier summoned by the SBU Security Service of Ukraine for interrogation in the so-called case of leaked tapes with his conversation with Putin's former aide Vladislav Surkov.
Sanctions against Medvedchuk and Kozak
- On February 2, 2021, President Volodymyr Zelensky enacted an NSDC decision of February 2, 2021, to impose sanctions on Member of Parliament Taras Kozak and a number of TV channels Kozak owns, such as 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK. After that, the channels were immediately disconnected from broadcasting.
- On February 19, 2021, the NSDC decided to impose sanctions on 19 legal entities and eight individuals. In particular, sanctions shall be applied to MP from the Opposition Platform - For Life Party Viktor Medvedchuk and his wife Oksana Marchenko. All their property and assets are subject to the sanctions.
- According to NSDC Secretary Oleksiy Danilov, the SBU Security Service of Ukraine has been investigating a case under Part 5 of Article 258 (financing of terrorism), and the latest sanctions were applied to Medvedchuk, Marchenko, and other persons precisely in connection with the said probe.
- The NSDC also made a decision to nationalize part of the Samara – Western Direction fuel pipeline, now owned by Prykarpatzakhidtrans, which is said to be linked with Medvedchuk.
- On February 26, Ukraine's NSDC decided to impose sanctions on high-ranking officials and senior officers who betrayed Ukraine during the events of 2014 and supported Russia's aggression. Ten people were put on the sanction list; they were stripped of state awards and military ranks.