A Ukrainian politician has been expelled from his party after posting a video of himself enjoying a swim in the azure, tropical seas of Thailand during what was purportedly a work trip.

 

Mykola Tyshchenko, a member of the Servant of the People faction, was in the country under the pretext of "establishing ties with the Ukrainian diaspora".

 

When the video appeared on social media on Thursday, Jan. 26, his party called an urgent meeting where it was decided to expel him. "It seems like not everyone understands what a people's deputy must be doing in the war-torn country," the head of the party’s parliamentary faction, Davyd Arakhamiya, said.

 

The scandal comes just days after the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) decided to ban state officials from traveling abroad for anything other than business trips.

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Under martial law, Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 are banned from leaving the country except in a limited number of cases which require a special permit from the government.

 

However, as the new legislation hasn't been finalized yet, male MPs can still travel abroad with a passport of a citizen of Ukraine and confirmation of the status of lawmaker.

 

According to several media reports, citing their own sources and screenshots, Tyshchenko tried to justify his trip claiming that he "carried out titanic work" while in Thailand.

 

After being expelled from the party, Tyshchenko commented on his trip on Facebook, saying his visit to Asia was official and the leadership of the Servants of the People knew about his plans. Mykola Tyshchenko also declared his readiness to report after returning to Ukraine.

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The trip comes after Germany announced it was sending an additional Patriot air defense system to Ukraine after pleas from Kyiv for its Western backer to urgently help foil Russian attacks.

 

"I do not hide my location, all my meetings are official and documented," he wrote. "I remind you that I am co-chair of the [parliamentary] friendship group with Vietnam. 

 

"The relevant documents were signed over the course of more than two weeks of work,” Tyshchenko said.

 

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“I held a meeting with our partners, we reached an important diplomatic agreement to support Ukraine. By order of senior [parliamentary] officials, the Asian direction is now one of the priorities."

 

According to Yulia Paliychuk, spokeswoman of the Servant of the People faction, members of the parliamentary faction supported an initiative to exclude Tyshchenko from it.

 

In his daily evening address on Thursday, Jan. 26, President Zelensky reminded viewers that Ukrainian officials are allowed to travel abroad only for a business trip. He stressed that he was forced to repeat the new rules for traveling abroad "for those who have bad hearing."

 

"Any trip abroad by government officials, MPs, representatives of local authorities and other persons authorized to perform the functions of the state or local self-government, any of their trips abroad must comply with the relevant decision of the National Security and Defense Council, which you have all seen. There will be no other trips abroad by officials or MPs in wartime," Zelensky said.

 

Previous scandals involving Tyshchenko

 

The lawmaker of the "Servants of the People" - and at the same time owner of several fancy Kyiv restaurants - gets involved in scandals quite frequently.

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Most of them were related to the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine bans.

 

Despite the established ban on the operation of restaurants during the lockdown, Tyshchenko's restaurants never stopped operating. He also used to hold secret parties involving his close friends, businessmen, oligarchs, and Ukrainian lawmakers.

 

Meanwhile, for regular citizens his fancy restaurants were, obviously, closed.

 

Tyshchenko, however, retains his status as a parliamentarian. 

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