Ukraine opens probe of possible surveillance of ambassador

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Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, during the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian police said Thursday they have opened an investigation into the possibility that the U.S. ambassador came under illegal surveillance by an unknown party before she was recalled from her post in May.

The announcement came two days after Democratic lawmakers in the United States released a trove of documents that showed Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, communicating about the removal of Marie Yovanovitch as the ambassador to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry, which runs the police forces, said in a statement that Ukrainian police “are not interfering in the internal political affairs of the United States.”

“However, the published messages contain facts of possible violations of Ukrainian law and of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which protect the rights of diplomats on the territory of another state,” the statement continued.

“Our goal is to investigate whether there actually was a violation of Ukrainian and international law, which could be the subject for proper reaction. Or whether it is just bravado and fake information in the informal conversation between two U.S. citizens,” the ministry said.

The Interior Ministry also said it has requested the FBI provide relevant materials. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov “suggested that the U.S. side take part in the investigation,” the statement said

In another move touching on the Trump impeachment, Ukraine said it was opening an investigation into reports that Russian hackers gained access to computers of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma.

Hunter Biden, the son of Trump opponent and former U.S. vice president Joe Biden, was on the board of that company. The impeachment inquiry began with allegations that Trump had tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy into investigating Burisma by withholding promised military aid.

The FBI has been invited to take part in the Burisma hacking investigation, the ministry said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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