15:25 GMT04 August 2020
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    In an attempt influence top US policymakers, a group of activists printed off a series of 'Wanted' posters featuring Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and members of his team accused of corruption, posting them near the US Capitol building. Analysts and social media are now trying to make sense of the guerilla marketing campaign.

    The anonymous activists posted the Old West-style posters, featuring Yatsenyuk, General Prosecutor Viktor Shokin, and former MP and businessman Mykola Martynenko, inside and around the Russell Senate Office Building, located across the street from the United States Capitol building in Washington, DC.

    The building contains the offices of Senators' John McCain, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and others.

    ​"Yatsenyuk, Shokin and Martynenko declared 'Wanted' in the US."

    The Yatsenyuk poster alleges that the prime minister "covers corruption scandals against the government, provides access for allies to the most profitable tenders, factories, and state property." 

    Prosecutor Shokin, meanwhile, is accused of "cover[ing] the most corrupted top officials and [the] killers of activists on 'Euromaidan' in Kiev," and slow[ing] down Ukrainian integration to the EU."

    ​Finally, former MP Martynenko, listed as the prime minister's "close friend," is "accused by Switzerland Prosecutors in bribery [amounting to an] estimated $30 mln," and of "enormous corruption over state property."

    Commenting on the guerilla marketing campaign, the Ukrainian information resources which support the action gleefully note that "now, anyone looking for lunch or a coffee in the Senate dining room, or on their way to work, will be able to familiarize themselves with these distinguished figures" whose "corrupt activities directly threaten the national security of both Ukraine and the United States."

    ​Others lament that while "Ukraine successfully achieves fame in the international arena, more and more, it is with a negative accent. Today, it is a center of crime, fraud, aggression and lawlessness in the heart of Europe," and "the main characters in Ukraine's politics are burying the future of the country deeper and deeper into the ground."

    Social media users, particularly those from Russia, responded to the campaign with a grain of salt, suggesting that it may simply be an attempt to manipulate Kiev's US patrons into replacing Yatsenyuk & co. with disgraced former Georgian president and Odessa governor Mikheil Saakashvili.

    ​"Seems like preparation of the nutty Georgian for the premier's office."

    Svobodnaya Pressa columnist Pavel Svyatenkov, for his part, has no doubts about the campaign's true purposes, leading into his story with the words: "The participants of Ukraine's 'no-holds barred' fight in Ukraine are now exchanging blows to their opponents' reputations right in front of their overseas curators."

    Vladimir Batyuk, a senior analyst at the Moscow-based Institute for US and Canadian Studies, told the independent Russian newspaper that as Washington's interest toward Kiev dies down, and the presidential campaign heats up, "the incident at the Senate may be an attempt to remind US policymakers of Ukraine's existence, and its dire need for Washington's support. 'Look', the campaign says, 'we are suffering; come and put our affairs in order for us'."


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