Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko, a rival of current leader Volodymyr Zelensky, said Monday he was authorised to leave the country after being “deliberately” blocked at the border this weekend.
He accused the government Saturday of breaking a so-called political ceasefire in place since Russia invaded by not letting him leave.
Poroshenko had received official permission to travel for a NATO parliamentary assembly meeting in Lithuania but could not attend.
But Poroshenko — one of Ukraine’s richest men — said he was able to travel for another meeting after European Union governments, which he did not name, intervened on his behalf.
Poroshenko, in power from 2014 to 2019, has made frequent public appearances since the war started.
His European Solidarity party is the second biggest in Ukraine’s parliament after Zelensky’s ruling party.
His party was “convinced the authorities deliberately did not release Poroshenko” for the NATO gathering at the weekend.
Poroshenko had planned to “call on the allies to provide Ukraine with a Membership Action Plan in NATO at the Madrid summit in June” during the meeting, his press service said in a statement to AFP.
But he was able to travel to the Netherlands for a summit bringing together European political parties that begins Tuesday.
“After pressure from deputies of the European Parliament and members of the governments of the EU countries, Petro Poroshenko was able to go abroad to participate in the Summit and Congress of the European People’s Party in Rotterdam,” his press service said.
It said the former leader “showed the same documents” at the border with Poland that he had twice been refused to leave with.
Under Zelensky, Poroshenko has been investigated for treason and corruption –- accused in part of helping pro-Russian separatists sell coal to Ukrainian authorities. He denies the charges.
After Russia’s invasion, Ukraine’s parliament banned several pro-Russian parties, and allowed others to still operate under a so-called political ceasefire — a tacit understanding that all parties would put aside domestic political disagreements to unite against the war.
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