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Bihus.Info Broadcasts Recordings of Medvedchuk Talks with Russian Officials

May 17 – The Bihus.Info investigative journalism program, in its latest expos entitled “Medvedchuk Recordings: Relationships between Poroshenko, Putin and Russia-backed Leaders of DNR, LNR,” broadcast recorded phone conversations the show says are of pro-Russian MP Viktor Medvedchuk speaking with Russia-backed combatants in the East of Ukraine in 2014.

According to RFE/RL, the head of Bihus.Info Denys Bihus said his editorial team received the recordings of Medvedchuk’s phone conversations from 2014-2017, but would not reveal the source. The talks were with Dmitriy Kozak, deputy head of Russia’s government, Vladislav Surkov, assistant to Russia’s president, Alexandr Novak, Russia’s Minister of Energy, and other Russian politicians and high-level officials in the energy sector. In addition, Bihus.Info reported that Medvedchuk spoke with the leaders of illegal military groups in the East  –  Alexandr Boroday, Alexey Karyakin, and Vladlen Zaruba.

In the broadcast, which aired on Ukraine’s public service TV broadcaster and on YouTube, Medvedchuk is heard saying in the recordings that his negotiations were approved by then-President Petro Poroshenko and President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Bihus.Info noted that Medvedchuk did not have official negotiator status with the Ukrainian government and fulfilled this function unofficially.

Bihus.Info’s investigation did not contain any response from either Medvedchuk or Poroshenko.

On May 13, the Pechersk court in Kyiv placed Medvedchuk under house arrest. Medvedchuk is suspected of high treason and attempted theft of national resources in Crimea. The prosecutor said the punishment may be up to 15 years’ imprisonment and confiscation of property. During the May 13 court hearing, Medvedchuk called the charges politically motivated and declared that there is no evidence of a crime.

More on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Ukrainian.