The unnamed Ukrainian official referenced in a federal indictment as directing a plot to oust the then-U.S. ambassador is Ukraine's former chief prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, according to a U.S. official familiar with the events.
According to the source, Lutsenko is the Ukrainian official who prosecutors say urged two associates of Rudy Giuliani to push for the removal of Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was forced out in May, NBC News reports.
The associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested Wednesday night as they prepared to board a one-way flight out of the country at Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C. The indictment says the efforts by Parnas and Fruman to remove then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, a respected diplomat with deep knowledge of Ukraine, were "conducted, at least in part, at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials."
Federal prosecutors didn't detail in the indictment or at a press conference why the unnamed Ukrainian official or officials allegedly urged Parnas and Fruman to scheme to push out Yovanovitch.
But two former U.S. officials said Lutsenko had sharp disagreements with Yovanovitch over his handling of corruption cases, and was also seeking to curry favor with the Trump administration.