Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The Ukrainian trace emerged in the investigation of the special counsel Robert Mueller, which has lasted since May 2017, into the interference of Russia in the US elections.
As the New York Times wrote, the Ukrainian politicians and businessmen who visited the inauguration of the president Donald Trump on January 20th 2017 fell under investigation.
Mueller’s team already interrogated several people, trying to find out how exactly and through who the Ukrainians received an invitation to Trump’s inauguration. Also they were interested in who the Ukrainians met and what specifically they discussed.
According to the media, tickets for the inauguration cost from $25,000 to $1 million, depending on the nearness of one’s seat to the president. The most expensive ticket – $1 million – implies “a candlelight dinner” with Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, and their wives. Tickets from $150,000 and more granted the right to visit the “Liberty Ball”, where Trump will also be. And certain Ukrainians were at this ball.
The Ukrainian delegation consisted of more than 50 people, and among them there were 17 People’s Deputies. In particular, the inauguration was visited by the People’s Deputies Sergey Kivalov, who filmed the first dance of President Trump and the First Lady and published the video on Facebook, Vitaly Khomutynnik, Borislav Bereza, Aleksandr Vilkul, the people’s deputy from the “Bloc of Petro Poroshenko” Oksana Bilozir, the first Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Vitaly Kovalchuk, the deputy head of the Presidential Administration Aleksey Filatov, the former state prosecutor Viktor Shokin, and also the people’s deputies Sergey Levochkin, the former head of the State Fiscal Service Roman Nasirov, the former governor of the Odessa region Mikheil Saakashvili, the former head of Foreign Intelligence Service Nikolay Malomuzh, the former people’s deputy Andrey Artemenko, and the scandalous businessman Pavel Fuchs, who was allegedly detained on January 7th after his arrival in Mexico because was blacklisted by the US.
According to the NYT, the Ukrainian politicians attended meetings and organised negotiations in the Trump International Hotel with influential Republicans from the Congress and close allies of President Trump.
“Representing a range of views, including a contingent seen as sympathetic to Moscow, they positioned themselves as brokers who could help solve one of the thorniest foreign policy problems facing the new administration — the ugly military stalemate between Russia and Ukraine and the tough sanctions imposed on Moscow following its seizure of Crimea”writes the publication
“Strana” contacted Andrey Artemenko, who now lives in the US and was present at Trump’s inauguration, and who was the only Ukrainian who in June of last year testified in front of the grand jury of jurors within the framework of the investigation of the special counsel Robert Mueller and asked him about the details of the “Ukrainian case” (charges weren’t brought to him).
“Mueller’s investigators and the FBI analysed tens of thousands of documents from various sources, and singled out activity that was connected to Ukraine’s interference in the 2016 presidential election campaign for separate criminal proceedings. This was public playing along with one of the candidates (the current authorities placed a stake on the candidate from Hillary Clinton’s democrats winning),” said Artemenko to “Strana”. “The question of how, how many, and under what circumstances money in funds was paid, and how tickets and invitations for various events that occurred during inaugural ceremonies were obtained is being considered separately. The FBI singled out for a separate case the investigation of ties between high-ranking Ukrainians and US lobbyist companies. The latter is being verified in case they, like Manafort, violated the American law on foreign agents and evaded paying taxes, receiving money from Ukraine into their offshore accounts.”
What consequences can there be because of the investigation?
“I can assume that many persons involved, members of delegations who distinguished themselves at Trump’s inauguration, perhaps, will have certain problems connected to crossing the border and the cancellation of their visas. Perhaps they will be invited to the US Embassy in Ukraine. For example, a similar thing was experienced by one of my former colleagues, Oleg Lyashko, who in 2017 was invited to the embassy and within three minutes his 10-year American visa was annulated for public criticism of the American Constitution, American foundations, and the American president. Moreover, he received a ban on entry into the US. This is an example of how a long tongue and a lack of brains will lead them to the position that they are now in – marginal elements and a voice from the past.”
And what else threatens them, besides the abolition of visas, if something else is dug up?
“It depends on who paid and for what, on bribes, on what lobbyists were hired, and on what relationship they had with the American establishment. Any financial communication that was carried out by Ukrainian political circles with US elites regarding a legal assessment of the lawfulness of their acquisition, the purchase of these or those services, and registration according to the law on foreign agents are being investigated.”
What else are the Americans investigating concerning the Ukrainian trace?
“Yes, the investigation into the ‘Ukrainian trace’ isn’t limited only to the presence of the Ukrainian delegation at Trump’s inauguration. The investigators are separately interested in the publication of the Ukrainian part of the Panama documents on offshores, which concerns, first of all, the immediate environment of Poroshenko and the financial fraud that he carried out together with Lozhkin, Gontareva, Pasenyuk, and many others. The investigators are also interested in the investigation of the BBC into the $400,000 bribe for Poroshenko’s meeting with Trump in the Oval office.
The fact of the existence of corruption in Ukraine at the highest level has been known by the American themis for a long time, I think that conclusions will soon follow. Washington has tons of material on Ukrainian corruption. By the way, all the material that was transferred at the time to the FBI by Aleksander Onishchenko, not without my help, are accepted as proof in the criminal case. And despite the fact that attempts are being made to suppress the story with Onishchenko’s tapes, the hands of Poroshenko and some People’s Deputies must itch. All of this will enter the public domain soon, despite the block that was put on such leaks by the Presidential Administration [of Ukraine – ed].
People will start being interrogated – invited to testify in any countries of the world where American justice works. Well, and we, of course, will also witness bright interrogations and criminal cases that can end with prison sentences. It’s not even a second presidential term that Petro Poroshenko shouldn’t think about – he should think about a prison term. This is a person who missed the chance that was given to him by the people in 2014, and a country that was ready for economic ascension was pushed by him into an economic, political, and humanitarian abyss. He needs to prepare himself to judicially defend everything that he and his entourage have messed up in Ukraine over the past five years.”
It [the Mueller investigation – ed] talks about an investigation into the ties between members of the delegation and Russia…
“This is a witch-hunt. They link any Russian-speaking person with Russia. By the way, the other day an information leakage was published, and allegedly in Paul Manafort’s answers to the latest questions of Mueller there is a discussion about some peaceful plan. I, probably, need to file for a patent on the phrase ‘peaceful plan’ (according to the data of the New York Times, Artemenko at the beginning of 2017 transferred to them his plan for solving the conflict in Donbass and normalising Ukrainian-Russian relations. This proposals were put on the desk of the former adviser to the US President Michael Flynn shortly before his resignation).
Unfortunately, the word ‘peace’ became nominal, and any person who speaks about peace is for sure a Russian spy and an agent of the Kremlin. This is absurdity. What state was it necessary to bring this good, correct, and kind word if people who speak about peace are accused of all mortal sins. I answer the American press in the same way: What? Speaking about peace and achieving peace in the country is a bad thing? No more questions are thus asked.
By the way, the investigators didn’t find the Russian trace that can cast a shadow on Donald Trump, who Manafort worked for. They aren’t able to use this high-profile case against the US President. There is no proof in support of ‘Kremlingate’, and everything that was dug up against the political consultant is just his work for the Party of Regions and other ‘foreign’ politician-businessmen from the countries of the former socialist camp.”
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