By Dan Peleschuk
KYIV – Ukraine’s ruling party has kicked out a lawmaker from its parliamentary faction after reports he had travelled to Thailand during Ukraine’s grinding war with Russia sparked a public outcry.
Party spokesperson Yulia Paliychuk said on Friday that Mykola Tyshchenko was expelled from Servant of the People’s voting bloc after an announcement appeared briefly on the website of the Ukrainian embassy in Thailand saying Tyshchenko would meet members of the Ukrainian diaspora 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 Februrary last year.