Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, who held power from 2010 to 2014 and has been a refugee in Russia since then, has been accused of “cooperating” with Moscow in order to “discredit” his country, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office announced Thursday.
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The authorities accuse him of having “justified” the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and called for “denazification”, an element of the language the Kremlin uses to justify its attack, during his interventions in the Russian media.
In cooperation with Russia and by repeating his theses, Mr. Azarov, who was born in Russia 76 years ago, sought to “discredit the Ukrainian state,” according to the prosecutor’s office.
In particular, he would have denied the existence of the massacre that took place in Bucha, a town on the outskirts of Kiev, which in 2022 witnessed a massacre of civilians attributed to Russian forces, which Moscow denies.
The Ukrainian authorities did not mention the name of Mykola Azarov directly, but they attached a slightly blurry photo, where he could be identified.
The former prime minister fled to Russia in 2014, when several months of pro-European protests on the Maidan in Kiev led to the downfall of President Viktor Yanukovych, one of his closest friends.
In August 2015, from his Russian exile, he established the “Committee to Save Ukraine”, with the aim of ousting the pro-Western authorities in Kiev from power.
He was targeted with an arrest warrant upon his departure from power and accused of embezzling more than 7.6 million euros with Viktor Yanukovych, and the European Union also imposed sanctions on him for some time.
His name appeared again in the news in January 2022, just before the Russian invasion began, when the UK accused Russia of seeking to install a “pro-Russian leader in Kiev” and “considering occupying” Ukraine.
British diplomacy had reported that Mykola Azarov was among the former Ukrainian politicians with links to the Russian security services.
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