• Yovanovitch was removed from her post following a smear campaign orchestrated by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani
  • Documents released this week showed Giuliani associates discussing her movements and electronic devices
  • The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said it is obligated to investigate the situation but doesn't want to interfere in U.S. politics

Police in Ukraine on Thursday announced an investigation into whether associates of U.S. President Donald Trump illegally conducted surveillance on ousted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who was seen as obstructing certain corrupt forces in the former Soviet Republic.

The announcement followed release of documents showing Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, talking about Yovanovitch’s removal from her post. The documents were released by House Democrats, who are pursuing their impeachment investigation of Trump in hopes the Senate will call witnesses at Trump’s impending trial.

The impeachment articles were to be formally accepted Thursday, opening the way for the trial to begin in earnest on Tuesday.

“The published messages contain facts of possible violations of Ukrainian law and of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which protect the rights of diplomats on the territory of another state. Ukraine cannot ignore such illegal activities on its territory,” the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said in a statement, adding that Ukraine is “not interfering in the internal political affairs of the United States.”

The ministry said it is trying to determine whether Ukrainian or international law was violated or whether the statements were “just bravado and fake information,” and invited U.S. investigators to participate in the inquiry.

The documents include WhatsApp messages between Parnas and Robert Hyde, a landscaper and Trump supporter who is running for Congress in Connecticut, in which they discussed Yovanovitch’s movements and electronic devices. Hyde calls Yovanovitch a “bitch” and suggests what sounds like a possible hit, saying he knows people and anything can be done in Ukraine for money.

Lawrence Robbins, Yovanovitch’s attorney, said the idea she was being monitored “is disturbing” and called for an investigation.

Yovanovitch testified during the House impeachment hearings she had been the object of a “smear campaign” because of her effort to fight corruption in Ukraine.

Hyde told CNN there was “no effing way” he planned to harm Yovanovitch. He called the allegations “laughable,” adding he never had been in Kyiv.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., formally asked the State Department to turn over any documents related to Yovanovitch’s security.

“Given the profound risk that these new revelations expose, it is imperative that Congress be fully informed about the threats against Ambassador Yovanovitch and the Department’s response to them,” Engel said in a letter to Undersecretary of State Brian Bulatao.

Parnas denied the allegations, saying Hyde was “drunk all the time.”

The ministry also said it has invited the FBI to help investigate the reported hacking of computers at Ukraine energy company Burisma. It is suspected the Russian military conducted the intrusion to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and presidential hopeful Joe Biden, to help Trump’s reelection effort.

Impeachment charges against Trump rest on his effort to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens in exchange for $391 million in military aid and then blocking a congressional investigation of his actions.