Famed Hollywood director Oliver Stone created a small social media storm when a post on his Facebook page late last year showed him interviewing and casually strolling through a park with fugitive former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.
Now Stone might face a summons by a Ukrainian court to provide information on the deposed leader’s whereabouts.
Yanukovych fled to Russia in February of last year following months of massive street protests against his rule and is now believed to be living in a posh Moscow suburb.
Ukraine’s new government would like him extradited to face a number of charges, including his possible complicity in the killings of dozens of protesters by security forces that were under Yanukovych’s command. He is also wanted by Interpol on corruption charges.
Ukrainian lawyers representing relatives of slain protesters say they have tried to reach out to Stone to ask him to provide details about where he met with Yanukovych and what the former president said during the interview, which according to Stone’s December 30 Facebook post, lasted four hours.
“Based on the information provided by Oliver Stone in his Facebook post, we can ask a Ukrainian court to summon him. If the court concludes that Mr. Stone can provide valuable information, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine would ask U.S. law-enforcement officials for their assistance in summoning Mr. Stone to testify in a Ukrainian court,” lawyer Vitaliy Tytych who represents the interests of relatives of three of the slain protesters told VOA.
Tytych said that attempts to reach Stone under publically available addresses and phone numbers listed for him have so far gone unanswered.
Stone could not be reached by VOA for comment.
The Hollywood director wrote on his Facebook page that his interview with the ex-president would be part of a documentary that would reveal the “dirty story” behind events in Ukraine in late 2013 and early 2014.
Stone said it is clear to him that those responsible for the bloodshed that preceded Yanukovych’s ouster, were “outside third party agitators.”
“Many witnesses, including Yanukovych and police officials, believe these foreign elements were introduced by pro-Western factions - with CIA fingerprints on it,” Stone wrote, echoing a largely Russian narrative that claims that Yanukovych’s ouster was clandestinely orchestrated by Western governments, assisted by the media.
“In this case the “Maidan Massacre” was featured in Western media as the result of an unstable, brutal pro-Russian Yanukovych Government,” Stone wrote, referring to the site in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, where the killings occurred.
“A dirty story through and through… [and] a surreal perversion of history,” Stone wrote, referring to Yanukovych’s ouster as a “coup.”
Anti-government protests erupted in Ukraine in November of 2013 after Yanukovych abandoned an association agreement with the European Union in favor of continued close ties with Moscow. The rallies, which often drew hundreds of thousands of people, have been widely seen as a popular uprising against an inept and corrupt regime.
Following new elections last year, Yanukovych’s government has since been replaced with a pro-Western leadership.
VOA’s Mark Snowiss contributed to this report.