In response to the Prosecutor General announcement on Facebook:

So far, I have not received any request from the Administrative Office of the Verkhovna Rada to lift my parliamentary immunity. Neither has the Prosecutor General’s office raised any charges against me since October 31, the date on which I received a formal response from this authority. However, it looks as though something has either changed over the past three days, or the Prosecutor General has been manipulated by his own subordinates. I would like to comment on this “announcement” by Yurii Lutsenko.

I am surprised that the Prosecutor General’s Office is going to file a request in regard to these allegations. Four Procedural Prosecutors and three Investigating Officers have already been replaced while investigating the case. I have repeatedly given evidence as a witness and have never hidden behind my parliamentary immunity.

So, what is the Prosecutor General’s Office trying to accuse me of? According to Lutsenko, it is my so-called involvement in putting “illegal pressure on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to remove the now-deceased Metropolitan Volodymyr from his post.” The Church knows my attitude towards His Beatitude who had been undergoing medical treatment, which I supported. Only the unscrupulous would have the heart to say that I wished him ill.

As far as I know, the accusation is founded on the words of the former secretary to His Beatitude, Mr. Drabynko, who has lately gone too far in what he says and exceeded his position.

In 2013, law enforcement officers detained Drabynko, as the investigators had evidence of his involvement in the abduction of two nuns, including the Abbess of the Holy Protection Monastery. At the request of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr, Drabynko was a witness. He agreed to cooperate with the investigators and gave evidence against his former partner into the investigation into the so-called ‘nuns case’. Being afraid of the accomplice’s revenge, Metropolitan Oleksandr filed a request to provide Drabynko with personal security staff. This protection was removed at Drabynko’s own request in 2014. All his statements, including his handwritten retraction, are contained in the case materials relating to the detention of the nuns. All this has been extensively covered in the media.

That very protection by security staff provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs is what is now referred to as ‘retention’ by Drabynko, and is said to be the “pressure” put on His Beatitude. By saying this, Drabynko immediately turned himself into “a victim of the (Yanukovych) regime”; having concealed the fact that it was “the regime” that rescued him from facing criminal proceedings.

Playing the role of victim at the hands of the former government has recently become a traditional behaviour pattern for different types of fraudsters, and it is common practice to say that it is being done in the name of Patriotism… However, it is disgraceful that Drabynko, a lover of luxury cars and high-end real estate, has managed to distort the facts and used the dark chapters of his past to serve his own ends.

It is most unfortunate that this person is connected to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Despite being elevated to Personal Secretary to His Beatitude, the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has since condemned “his way of life, disgraceful behavior and destructive actions.”

Drabynko is aware that an investigation against him may be reopened at any time. This vulnerability has enabled the Government to use him to provide false testimony against me.

The plot is very simple. However, I believe that the truth will prevail and the case will fall apart. I am confident that all those involved in its fabrication will be punished. It is clearly politically motivated to attract media attention and put pressure on the Opposition.

I have never avoided meeting the Investigating officers from either the Prosecutor General’s Office or the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Perhaps, no other Government official or Deputy has talked to law enforcement officers as many times over the past two years. However, I have never broken the law and so have no reasons to avoid its agents.

To prevent any further unjustified accusations, I would like to formally announce that I have scheduled a trip to Mount Athos for tomorrow. I assure you that I will come back to Ukraine on Monday, and I will be ready to answer any further questions that law enforcement officials and fellow Deputies may have in relation to this case.

No matter how the situation develops in future, or how much my detractors desire it, I will always stay in Ukraine and I am not going to leave even in the event of an unjustified prosecution. As for Mr. Drabynko, I would advise him to listen to the remains of his conscience and retract his statement. He should not follow the political instigators who are threatening him with the reopening of his criminal case, where he will appear in the capacity of defendant rather than witness.