Ruslan Stefanchuk, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine, has released data on the manner and length of Ukrainian MPs’ time spent abroad in response to complaints from European Solidarity MPs.
Source: Stefanchuk on Facebook
Details: Stefanchuk emphasised that, according to statistics, the Servant of the People faction receives 4.23 agreed business trips per MP, while European Solidarity gets 6.7 approvals.
Prior to this, the parliament chairman published other figures.
Stefanchuk said representatives of European Solidarity are also one of the leaders in terms of business trips:
- Ivanna Klympush-Tsyntsadze was sent on 31 business trips outside Ukraine, and out of 648 days of the full-scale war she has spent 172 days on foreign business trips, ranking third among MPs in terms of the number of business trips.
- Iryna Herashchenko (19 business trips lasting 101 days and 19th place);
- Artur Herasymov (18 business trips lasting 128 days and 20th place);
- Mariia Ionova (18 business trips lasting 93 days and 21st place);
- Oleksii Honcharenko (17 business trips lasting 118 days and 24th place), etc.
Stefanchuk placed himself in 30th place in the rating, but did not publish the data of any other faction.
The speaker branded the complaints of the European Solidarity MPs about the travel ban as manipulative and "a primitive kind of political struggle that definitely does not fit with the concept of widely proclaimed parliamentary unity".
Stefanchuk said that he had moved on to a more thorough consideration of applications for MPs’ business trips.
He also allegedly commented on the application for a business trip by the fifth president and leader of European Solidarity Petro Poroshenko, who, according to the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), was supposed to meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Quote: "Yes, an MP who is sent to a specific event, for example, to the United States, then declares that he or she has planned a number of his or her own political activities and even in several countries of the world to which he or she was not sent and for which he or she was not authorised by anyone on behalf of the Ukrainian Parliament.
In addition, another interesting trend is added to this, when another 7-8 members of the same faction (almost a third of the members) apply simultaneously for such trips outside Ukraine...
At the same time, I, as the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament, do not accept and will not tolerate the position of individual colleagues who for some reason decided that they are an exclusive ‘Foreign Ministry of the Parliament’, stating that they are the most effective, professional and knowledgeable in the matter."
Updated: Iryna Herashchenko, co-chair of the European Solidarity party's parliament faction, responded to Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk saying that "Excel tables cannot capture the defence of Ukraine".
Quote from Herashchenko: "We have paid for most of our visits out of our own pockets or they were paid for by our hosts. I only had several official foreign visits in my capacity as a member of the Verkhovna Rada in the past two years (when I was a member of the [Ukrainian] delegation during events held as part of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which are now also being blocked). The rest [of my visits] were not approved, were vetoed, or were postponed.
Mariia (Ionova, another European Solidarity MP - ed.) and I had to take holiday and pay for it out of our own pockets [to attend official events abroad]. We would write that the goal of our visits was to defend Ukraine and advocate for its interests during conferences or meetings.
That’s how we were able to travel to a Conservatives’ convention last year, the IDU [International Democracy Union] Forum, because our applications to go there on official trips were blocked. These are the ‘official trips’ Verkhovna Rada Chairman (i e. Stefanchuk) has included in his manipulative Excel table."
Details: Oleksii Honcharenko, another European Solidarity MP, also responded to Stefanchuk, telling him about a time when he cast a decisive vote for a pro-Ukrainian candidate for the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.
Honcharenko also stressed that he did not spend a single penny from the government budget on trips abroad.
Quote from Honcharenko: "That candidate won. He won by two votes: mine and Serhii Vlasenko’s.
Now it’s 99% certain that this person will become the Commissioner. But what if we weren’t there? The situation could have played out totally differently…
Mr Stefanchuk, add this to your table."
- Former Ukrainian President Poroshenko reported that border guards had refused to let him leave for a business trip to Poland and the United States, and labelled it as "anti-Ukrainian sabotage".
- Border guards noted that they had refused to allow Poroshenko to leave due to the fact that his business trip was cancelled by the Verkhovna Rada.
- Oleksandr Korniienko, First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, says he cancelled Poroshenko's international business trip after receiving a letter stamped "for official use only", the contents of which he cannot disclose.