Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office wants to question the former prime minister Mykola Azarov, who was a close associate of ousted ex-president Viktor Yanukovych, over the alleged embezzlement of funds, local media reported on August 4.
According to documents posted by the chief law enforcement agency, Azarov will be called in for questioning on August 9 over a criminal case regarding the embezzlement of funds belonging to Ukraine's biggest state-controlled oil producer and the company's subsidiary Ukrgazvydobuvannia worth a total of UAH2bn ($80.6mn), by a criminal organisation allegedly headed by Yanukovych. Azarov's son Oleksiy will also be called in for questioning over the same criminal proceedings.
Former premier Azarov headed the Ukrainian government from March 2010 until late January 2014. After the victory of the anti-Yanukovych revolution in Kyiv in February 2014, Azarov escaped to Russia.
The move comes out of the blue, as despite the passage of over two years since Yanukovych was ousted for running a blatantly kleptocratic administration, Ukraine’s prosecutors have yet to bring a single charge against anyone participating in that regime. At the same time, the investigation into the fatal shootings in February 2014 of Euromaidan protesters in central Kyiv has come to nothing and no one has been prosecuted, despite circumstantial evidence suggesting that Yanukovych ordered the police to fire on the crowd.
The move followed a Kyiv court's ruling to arrest for 60 days the former head of the Party of Regions faction in the Ukrainian parliament, Oleksandr Yefremov, for allegedly helping to foment the two-year separatist conflict in the country's East. Yefremov's case, if it goes ahead, would be a landmark change and could be the start of real progress by the Prosecutor General's Office under the new leadership of Yuriy Lutsenko, who was appointed to his post in May.