Supporters of the far-right National Corps party tried to break through to Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko during his speech in Cherkasy, a city of 280,000 people located 200 kilometers southeast of Kyiv, on March 9. According to police, 22 police officers were injured during the incident.
Poroshenko, who is seeking re-election on March 31, took the stage in Cherkasy during commemoration events dedicated to the 205th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko, the renowned Ukrainian poet and artist who lived from March 9, 1814 to March 10, 1861.
The event took place simultaneously with the so-called “Anger Day” protest on March 9 in downtown Kyiv, organized by the National Corps party, headed by Andriy Biletsky, a lawmaker and ex-commander of Azov Volunteer Battalion. According to police, two of its officers and a member of Ukraine’s National Guard were injured during the Kyiv protests as well.
Far-right protesters both in Kyiv and Cherkasy demanded punishment for those involved in a recent corruption scandal in the state-owned defense sector enterprise UkrOboronProm. The scandal, which involves high-ranking officials with close connections to Ukraine’s president, became public after an investigative report by Bihus.info was released on Feb. 25.
Oleh Hladkovsky, the deputy head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council and a close ally of Poroshenko, as well as his son Ihor, were the central figures of the report. Hladkovskiy was fired on March 4 but the protests called for a trial of those allegedly involved in the schemes.
Both Hladkovsky and his son deny the accusations.
The press service of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc party, whose 135 members of parliament make it the dominant faction, issued a statement depicting the far-right protesters in Cherkasy as Russian agents.
“Pro-Russian revenge-seekers and runaway oligarchs stand behind these actions,” the press statement reads. “We are dealing with another attempt to plunge Ukraine into chaos and all with one goal – to overthrow (Ukraine’s) democratic pro-European power.”
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