Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

Saudi Arabia under pressure: Crown Prince defiant over Khashoggi disappearance

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Biking in Cuba, entrepreneurship in Burundi, and more

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: NOLA French Connection Brass Band, Yoko Ono & Neneh Cherry

Read more

FOCUS

US Supreme Court decision boosts anti-abortion activists in California

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Beginning of the end for 'Mutti'? State election reflects Merkel's unpopularity

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Spain's Europe minister rules out new Catalan independence referendum

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Hungary's Orban: What consequences of symbolic EU vote?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

South Sudan: How it won the longest war but lost the peace

Read more

Ukrainian leader Poroshenko suing BBC for libel: lawyer

© AFP/File | Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is suing British broadcaster BBC for libel

KIEV (AFP) - 

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko is suing British broadcaster BBC for libel over an article that said Kiev paid $400,000 to secure a meeting with US leader Donald Trump last year.

Poroshenko issued the libel claim, seen by AFP, over an article published in May this year that said Kiev paid Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen a "secret payment of at least $400,000" to "fix talks" between Poroshenko and Trump in the White House in June 2017.

The claim, filed through a British law firm, says the news story damaged Poroshenko's "political and business" reputation and caused him "substantial distress and embarrassment".

It added that the allegation of "serious corruption" was especially damaging because of Poroshenko's "promotion of a number of anti-corruption measures in Ukraine".

A spokesman for the BBC told AFP that it "cannot comment on this ongoing case".

The article, which was also used in a televised report, was based on "sources in Kiev close to those involved".

It said a "high ranking Ukrainian intelligence officer" told the BBC the payment was made as Kiev's embassy in Washington "could get Poroshenko little more than a brief photo-op with Trump".

Poroshenko met with Trump in the White House in June 2017.

There was speculation ahead of the meeting that Trump would refuse to meet the Ukrainian leader.

Washington did not announce the sit-down in advance -- as is customary -- and when it was described, the White House called it a "drop-in" with the US president.

For three years, ties between Washington and Kiev have been dominated by efforts to contain a destabilising Russia-backed rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

The crisis has left 10,000 dead and heightened tensions between the West and the Kremlin.

Kiev has been concerned by Trump often appearing reluctant to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to solve the crisis.

Ukrainians are scheduled to go to polls to elect a president next March.

Poroshenko, who took office in 2014, is widely expected to run but has not yet made an official announcement.

Corruption was among the top reasons that prompted Ukrainians to take to the streets and oust a Kremlin-backed regime in early 2014.

But Ukrainian and Western observers have repeatedly questioned pro-Western Poroshenko's resolve to reform the country's kleptocratic system.

© 2018 AFP