| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Zelenskiy’s party purges lawmaker for wartime trip to Thailand

After public anger over news that a politician had visited Thailand while Ukraine was engaged in a protracted war with Russia, the country’s ruling party expelled him from its parliamentary fraction.

Mykola Tyshchenko was expelled from the Servant of the People voting bloc, according to party spokeswoman Yulia Paliychuk, on Friday. This was as a result of a brief announcement that appeared on the website of the Ukrainian embassy in Thailand stating that Tyshchenko would meet Ukrainian diaspora members at a hotel there.

Tyshchenko said on Facebook he had been on a business trip in Asia with approval of party leaders, “acting exclusively in the interests of Ukraine”. Parliament Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk said he had approved no such trip.

The winter visit to sun-soaked Southeast Asia comes amid a crackdown by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy aimed at projecting an image of greater accountability for officials.

More than a dozen senior officials were fired or resigned this week, including a deputy prosecutor who had come under fire in the press for a holiday in Spain, in the biggest shakeup of the Kyiv leadership since the war began.

Zelenskiy has announced a ban this week on private trips abroad by officials. Most Ukrainian men aged 18-60 have already been barred from leaving the country under martial law since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February last year.

  • Reuters