Ukraine’s Ex-president Says He Was Blocked From Leaving Country

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Moldova's President Maia Sandu and President of the European Council Charles Michel leave a joint press conference, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 21, 2023. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo

Ukraine’s ex-President Petro Poroshenko said he had been stopped from leaving the country on Friday morning in what he described as a politically motivated bid to disrupt his work.

Poroshenko, who led Ukraine from 2014 to 2019 and is now an opposition lawmaker, posted a video of himself at a border crossing with Poland, saying he had been turned away and holding up papers that he said showed he had official permission to cross.

Under martial law, Ukrainian officials have to get special approval to travel abroad.

The Ukrainian parliament’s deputy speaker, Oleksandr Korniyenko, later confirmed he had cancelled Poroshenko’s permission to leave the country.

Korniyenko said that while lawmakers were allowed to travel for party political events, he had received a letter, which he could not comment on, that led him to cancel the permission for Poroshenko’s trip.

The dispute comes amid slowly growing tensions between government and opposition – mostly over internal matters such as budgets and appointments – as the war against invading Russian troops grinds on, in contrast to the near-total unity at the start of the conflict.

Poroshenko said he had planned to travel to Poland to help negotiate an end to a truckers’ blockade and then to the United States to build support for Ukraine’s war effort.