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Ukrainian ex-president back in Kyiv for treason case

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Ukraine's former president Petro Poroshenko landed in Kyiv on Monday (January 17) to face treason charges, which he says were trumped up by allies of his successor, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

His return sets up a showdown that critics see as an ill-judged distraction.

Ukraine is currently bracing for a possible Russian military offensive and appealing to Western allies for support.

In a brief stand-off at border control after arriving on a flight from Warsaw, Poroshenko accused border guards of taking away his passport.

Then he addressed flag-waving supporters outside the airport.

The treason allegations relate to the financing of Russian-backed separatist fighters through illegal coal sales in 2014-15, while he was president.

Western diplomats called for political unity in Ukraine ahead of Poroshenko's arrival.

Poroshenko's party accused Zelenskiy of a reckless attempt to silence political opposition.

Zelenskiy's administration says the prosecutors and judiciary are independent and accuses Poroshenko of thinking he is above the law.

Ukraine and its allies have sounded the alarm about tens of thousands of Russian troops massed near its borders.

After days of diplomacy last week achieved no breakthrough, the United States said Russia was preparing a pretext for an attack, something the Kremlin dismissed as "unfounded."

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