Ukraine: Investigation launched into ‘illegal surveillance’ of ex-US ambassador Marie Yovanovitch

Written by Corby Radio News on 16th January 2020

Ukraine has launched a criminal investigation to find out if former US ambassador Marie Yovanovitch came under illegal surveillance in her post last year.

The announcement from Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said its position was "not to interfere in the domestic affairs" of the US, but that evidence suggested a possible violation of Ukrainian or international law.

It referred to a cache of documents released by Democrat politicians earlier in the week that are said to show Whatsapp records from Lev Parness, an associate of US President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giulani, discussing apparent physical and electronic monitoring of Ms Yovanovitch.

"The published records contain the fact of possible violation of the legislation of Ukraine and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations," the ministry statement said.

It added that such legislation was in place to protect "the rights of a diplomat in the territory of another country".

Ms Yovanovitch, who is at the centre of the ongoing US impeachment inquiry, was abruptly recalled from her position in Kiev in spring last year.

She was later described by Mr Trump in his now infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as "bad news".

He also said: "Well, she’s going to go through some things."

:: Listen to Divided States on Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Spreaker

Meanwhile on Thursday, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said it had also requested help from the FBI to investigate what it believes was a cyber attack from Russian military hackers on energy company Burisma.

"It is noted that the hacker attack is probably committed by the Russian special services," the statement said, adding: "Persons involved in the commission of this criminal offence are identified."

The Ukrainian gas company has also been at the heart of the ongoing impeachment case after Mr Trump urged his counterpart in the phone call last year to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of his political rival Joe, over his time on the board of Burisma.

News of Ukraine’s investigations came on Thursday as a nonpartisan congressional agency said the White House had broken the law by withholding security aid to the eastern European nation.

"Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress
has enacted into law," the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said.

Mr Trump, who is braced for his start to his impeachment trial, has dismissed charges against him and has denied that he tried to influence officials.

© Sky News 2020

Tagged as

[There are no radio stations in the database]