KIEV, Ukraine — A former Ukrainian prime minister who is a candidate in next month’s presidential election accused the incumbent of corruption Monday — charges President Petro Poroshenko’s office rejected as a lie as the race was heating up.
Yulia Tymoshenko alleged during an interview with The Associated Press that Poroshenko has used the position to enrich himself. She also alleged the president’s associates have engaged in a sprawling effort to bribe Ukraine’s voters to ensure his re-election.
Tymoshenko, 58, claimed voters were being offered 1,000 hryvnia ($37) in exchange for supporting the 53-year-old Poroshenko in the March 31 election. She said she asked the Ukrainian Interior Ministry to investigate.
“They are setting up that network of bribery across the entire country,” she said. “I hope that the Interior Ministry will not allow that to be the basis of the president’s campaign. How can a ‘democratic’ president treat his nation like that?”
Poroshenko’s office quickly dismissed Tymoshenko’s accusations.
“Tymoshenko has been invariably leading the ratings of liars, and she obviously tries now to strengthen her positions,” Poroshenko’s press service said in a written statement in response to AP requests for comment.
The press service sought to turn the tables on Tymoshenko, charging that it was her political movement that engaged in bribing voters. Its statement noted that a movement activist was recently convicted of that crime and given a 5 ½ -year prison sentence.