Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has denied that he wrote two potentially compromising letters to Russia’s Federal Security Service in 2007. The Presidential Administration cited factual errors in the documents as evidence that they are counterfeit.
The two letters, which were shown in a video report published by Rustavi-2 — a Georgian television channel close to Poroshenko critic Mikheil Saakashvili — on January 13, appear to show the President attempting to gain entrance to Russia after an unsuccessful attempt to cross the border on February 2, 2007.
“I promise to dutifully comply with Russian law and not engage in any behavior against the interests of Russia,” one letter reads.
The other letter appears to feature Poroshenko describing his ties with Russia, including running two businesses — the Roshen confectionery and the Bogdan Motors automotive company — in Russia, creating jobs, and paying his taxes on time.
“I declare that the decision to deny me entry to Russia is not objective because I do not have anything to do with president [Viktor] Yushchenko’s anti-Russian campaign,” Poroshenko allegedly wrote. At the time, Poroshenko was a lawmaker in Yushchenko’s Nasha Ukraina (Our Ukraine) political party.
The letter also mentions the wife of Poroshenko’s son Oleksiy, Julia Poroshenko (née Alikhanova), who, according to her LinkedIn profile, used to live and study in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
“I regularly visit St. Petersburg, where the parents of my eldest son Oleksiy’s wife live. During my time spent visiting St. Petersburg and also leading my business in Russia, neither I, nor my family were charged with any criminal activity,” the second letter continues.
The Ukrainian Presidential Press Service has vehemently denied the letters’ veracity. “The so-called ‘letters’ in Petro Poroshenko’s name are a low-quality counterfeit and a fake produced and sent to Rustavi-2 by the Russian special services,” the press service wrote.
It also cites the reference to Oleksiy Poroshenko’s in-laws as the most “explicit proof of the FSB’s failure” because they did not “bother to check that Oleksiy only married his [future] wife in September 2013.”
As of February 2, 2007 — the date listed on the letters — Oleksiy was 21 years old. However, the couple reportedly only met during their studies at the Singapore- and France-based INSEAD business school in 2011-2012.
“The press service of the Presidential Administration calls on the media to stop sharing fake information that clearly resembles the style of a material paid for by the aggressor,” the Presidential Administration wrote in a message on Poroshenko’s website. The administration added that it expects a public apology from all the media organizations that published the letters without first checking their authenticity.
Rustavi-2 is one of the most popular Georgian media outlets. During Saakashvili’s presidency, the TV channel took a pro-government stance. To this day, it remains supportive of the former president and critical of Georgia’s current government.
The controversial video report by Rustavi-2 features comments by two lawmakers from Saakashvili's Movement of New Forces in Ukraine. The report comes amid a standoff between the former Georgian president and Odesa regional governor and President Poroshenko.
Last month, Svyatoslav Tsegoloko, Poroshenko’s press secretary, published a letter Saakashvili allegedly wrote to the president asking to de-escalate their conflict.