The Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, opened a criminal investigation on May 6 into high treason by the head of presidential office Andriy Yermak and former president Leonid Kuchma, according to lawmaker Volodymyr Viatrovych.

Viatrovych, member of the European Solidarity opposition faction, filed a deputy’s appeal to the SBU to investigate Yermak and Kuchma for their actions as members of Ukraine’s delegation to the Minsk negotiations on Donbas. 

“The Main Investigations Department of the SBU on May 6, 2020, registered … a criminal case … on high treason by certain representatives of Ukraine’s delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group for the settlement of the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk region,” reads the SBU statement posted by Viatrovych on Facebook on May 18.

The “certain representatives” SBU refers to in the statement are Yermak and Kuchma, according to Viatrovych.


Viatrovych also says that the SBU did not open the investigation immediately on his appeal but only after he addressed the courts. The SBU letter does say that they are complying with the order of the Shevchenkivskyi District Court of Kyiv.

SBU refused to comment immediately over the phone whether it has indeed opened a criminal investigation into high treason by Yermak and Kuchma. The Kyiv Post filed an official written request for the information.

Yermak and Kuchma represented Ukraine at the March 11 negotiations in Minsk between Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Among other things, the sides agreed on the creation of a special Advisory Council which will have equal representation from Ukraine and Russian-occupied territories.

This drastically diverged from Ukraine’s established policy of holding negotiations only with the aggressor state, Russia, and not legitimizing its proxies as independent entities by negotiating with them. Ukrainian law says that holding negotiations with Russian proxies in the Donbas is considered state treason.


Viatrovych is a lawmaker with the 27-member European Solidarity faction led by former president Petro Poroshenko, the main rival of the current President Volodymyr Zelensky in the 2019 elections. He has also been the Head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance in 2014-2019 under Poroshenko.

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