The Chairperson of the Ukrainian Parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, confirmed in an interview with RBK Ukraine on April 25 that ten lawmakers had left Ukraine on the eve of Russia’s attack on Feb. 24.
“We have lawmakers who are on business trips. They represent Ukraine in various parliamentary assemblies – NATO, the Council of Europe. And there are deputies who left the territory of Ukraine a few days before the war and, for one reason or another, do not return. There are about ten such lawmakers. Mostly they are all from the same political force. The activities of its faction have recently been suspended in the Verkhovna Rada – I mean the Opposition Platform – For Life (OPFL) party. The names of these people have already appeared in the press.” – the Speaker said.
On Feb. 14, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov provided a list of the lawmakers who had left Ukraine from the pro-Russian OPFL party, including:
- Ilya Kiva (OPFL) – on Jan. 30, went to Alicante (Spain). Kiva was deprived of his mandate and put on the wanted list by the Ukrainian authorities;
- Natalia Korolevskaya (OPFL) – flew to Riga (Latvia) on Feb. 9;
- Serhiy Lyovochkin (OPFL) – flew to Venice (Italy) on Feb.10;
- Yuliya Lyovochkina (OPFL) – went to Nice (France) on Jan. 26,
- Vadym Rabinovich (OPFL) – flew to Tel Aviv (Israel) on Feb. 3;
- Tatyana Plachkova (OPFL) – flew to Vienna (Austria) on Feb. 13;
- Oleg Voloshin (OPFL) – left by car across to Belarus on Feb. 14,
- Igor Abramovich (OPFL) – flew to Warsaw (Poland) on Feb. 12;
- Vitaliy Bort (OPFL) – flew to Istanbul (Turkey) on Feb 3;
- Vadym Stolar (OPFL) – went to Nice (France) on Feb.12;
- Yuriy Solod (OPFL) – went to Riga (Latvia) on Feb 9;
- Alexander Puzanov (OPFL) – flew to Doha (Qatar) on Feb. 13.
Only Serhiy Lyovochkin and Yuliya Lyovochkina from this list appear to have returned to Ukraine after the Russian attack on February 24.
According to Oleksiy Honcharenko, a member of the European Solidarity faction, associated with former president Petro Poroshenko, some of the lawmakers from the OPFL party who have remained in the country have created a new coalition, in the form of a parliamentary deputies’ group, he wrote in his Facebook page on April 21.
“The Rada created a deputies’ group “Platform for Life and Peace”. [Yuriy] Boyko became its head. Also included: Voloshin, Zahorodniy, Kaltsev, Koltunovich, Lyovochkin, Makarenko, Mamoyan, Papiev, Puzanov, Surkis, Shufrych, Bort, Dunaev, Ioffe, Kachny, Larin, Lyovochkina, Mamka, Nimchenko, Ponomaryov, Ponomarev, Malt,” wrote Honcharenko.
He noted that they had removed one word from their previous name – Opposition– and replaced it with the word Peace.
A former leader of the OPFL, the tycoon and politician with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Viktor Medvechuk, was caught earlier this month trying to escape from the country. He had been under house arrest facing charges of treason.
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