"We declare that we are beginning impeachment proceedings against the president along with other factions that support us," leader of Ukraine’s Batkivshchyna Party, former Prime Minister and presidential contender Yulia Timoshenko said Tuesday.
This move came after a day after BIHUS.infor, an investigative journalism unit from Kiev, released a report that revealed Poroshenko’s involvement in a money laundering scandal cover-up together with some defense officials.
The report said that he allegedly smuggled spare parts for Ukrainian army from Russia at over-inflated prices.
"This is actually assisting the enemy and destroying the Ukrainian army. This is a cognizable case. We believe this falls under Section 111 of the Criminal Code (high treason)," said Timoshenko.
The report named Oleh Hladkovskyi, a member of Ukraine's National Security Council and a close friend of Poroshenko. The latter allegedly ignored the corruption allegations in order to protect Hladkovskyi.
According to Article 111 of Ukraine’s Constitution, a president can be impeached if found to have committed high treason or another crime. But the process needs a special mechanism which should be enshrined in a special impeachment law. However, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) has been unable to pass the said law since 1996.
The scandal comes at a time when the country is gearing up for presidential elections on Mar. 31.
Poroshenko, who came to power in 2014, is seeking re-election and hasn’t expressed his views on the impeachment process.
Timoshenko had said in past that, if she is elected as president, the law on the impeachment of the president will be passed under her leadership.