Appointment of Russian rep as Interpol head will allow Kremlin to expand persecution of political opponents – Avakov
The possible appointment of a Russian representative to the presidency of Interpol will allow the Kremlin to expand the practice of using Interpol tools to persecute political opponents of the Russian regime, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has said.
"The General Assembly is deciding the fate of Interpol, reflecting another hybrid attack by the Putin regime. Today, the 87th session of the Interpol General Assembly opened. It will take extremely important decisions that will affect the entire global security system. In fact, the question remains whether the world's largest international criminal police organization (ICPO) is committed to the principle of cooperation only in cases of ordinary crimes and can refuse cases of political, religious, racial (ethnic) or military character, as it is written in its Charter," Avakov said on Facebook.
Avakov noted that Alexander Prokopchuk, a veteran of Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Russian foreign intelligence agencies, is contending to the top post of the ICPO.
"The Putin regime is waging an open hybrid war against a significant part of the civilized world. It is waging a direct hybrid war against Ukraine, using, among other things, specific methods under the control of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) and Russian GRU military intelligence directorate," Avakov said.
"If Prokopchuk becomes Interpol president it will allow the Russian regime to further expand the practice of using the 'red notices' to restrict freedom of movement and prosecution of undesirable persons in the interests of the odious regime," Avakov said.
Avakov expressed conviction that the world community should finally recognize the toxicity of the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin and work out preventive measures, rather than "legalizing it through posts in the leadership of Interpol."
"Ukraine, which was the first to suffer from its aggression, is today actually restraining this aggression from moving further to Europe. We can and should be heard. To do this, we work closely at the General Assembly of Interpol in Dubai. With the help of our partners, we hope to prevent this next hybrid threat to Ukraine and the entire civilized world," the minister said.
In turn, as a member of the collegium of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada deputy (People's Front Party faction) deputy Anton Gerashchenko said Ukraine has "irrefutable information that Alexander Prokopchuk, the main candidate for the post of new president of Interpol, is a Russian intelligence agent infiltrated into Interpol."
Gerashchenko said since Prokopchuk was put in charge of the Russian Interpol Bureau in 2011, Russia began to actively use this organization as a tool for the prosecution of undesirable persons.
"This was done by issuing red cards on trumped-up charges against people dangerous to the Putin regime. The persons were then detained at Interpol requests. In the end, this led to a big scandal," Gerashchenko said, adding that Prokopchuk's election to president of the International Police Organization would mean Interpol's subordination to Russian special services and discredit of this organization.
"The head of Interpol should be a representative of a neutral state that respects human rights and does not wage aggressive wars. The formal reason for excluding Prokopchuk from the list of applicants is the fact he hides his connection with Russian intelligence services," he said.
Petro Poroshenko Bloc parliament deputy Mustafa Nayyem, in turn, said on Facebook that Interpol's General Assembly would elect a new president on November 21.
"It's most likely that they will elect Prokopchuk. The election of a representative of Russia to the highest post in Interpol will mean the actual seizure of this organization by Russia and other authoritarian regimes. We are asking non-governmental organizations to sign a joint appeal to delegates to the assembly calling on them not to elect him," Nayyem said.