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Thursday, 4 March 2021

Ukraine probing whether U.S. envoy was surveilled

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Ukraine probing whether U.S. envoy was surveilled
Ukraine probing whether U.S. envoy was surveilled

Ukraine's interior ministry announced an investigation into the possible illegal surveillance of the then American ambassador to Kiev, Marie Yovanovitch, following messages contained in documents released by the U.S. Congress this week.

Jonah Green reports.

Was someone tracking the U.S. ambassador in Kiev?

Ukraine, for one, would like to know while the U.S. State Department has had no comment.

Ukraine’s interior ministry said it's opened a criminal investigation into whether former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was illegally stalked and surveilled.

The allegations bring a new sinister element to an alleged smear campaign against Yovanovitch, which diplomats claim was led by President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) GEORGE KENT, THE DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EUROPEAN AND EURASIAN AFFAIRS, SAYING: " effort by Rudy Giuliani and others..." On a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Trump called Yovanovitch 'bad news,' and said, 'she's going to go through some things.'

Yovanovitch was later recalled to the U.S. She told impeachment investigators she believed her security was at risk.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FMR. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE, SAYING: "'She is going to go through some things.'

It didn't sound good.

It sounded like a threat." The Ukrainian government probe comes after House Democrats released new documents as part of their impeachment case against Trump.

The documents released on Tuesday included encrypted messages between Florida businessman Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, and Robert F.

Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate in Connecticut.

Hyde disparaged the respected career diplomat and apparently provided updates on her movements in Kiev.

In one, Hyde wrote, "They are moving her tomorrow." In another, he said he had associates in Ukraine who could help keep track of Yovanovitch.

"They are willing to help if we/you would like a price.” Hyde denied wrongdoing, saying on Twitter he had never been in Kiev.

"For them to take some texts my buddy's and I wrote back to some dweeb we were playing with that we met a few times while we had a few drinks is definitely laughable," he wrote.

In an interview with MSNBC, Parnas said he did not believe Hyde posed a threat to Yovanovitch, portraying him as an unreliable.

Parnas also laid the blame on the President, arguing that Trump "knew exactly what was going on” in an alleged scheme to get Ukraine to announce an investigation into Trump rival Joe Biden.

House Democrats say the messages add to the evidence they will present to the Senate in an impeachment trial due to start in earnest next week.

Trump is charged with abusing his power and obstructing Congress.

He denies wrongdoing.


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