01 September 2016

Today the mass media have been active in circulating a report first published on Ukrainska Pravda’s website. The article states that the Prosecutor General’s Office (GPU) of Ukraine, is allegedly preparing a request to the Verkhovna Rada to lift my parliamentary immunity. I can say the following: I am not aware of this, or anything related to it. To the best of my knowledge, there is no basis for stripping me of my immunity, as there are no accusations against me on which I might be charged.

Today I was at the Prosecutor General’s Office, and nothing was raised on this issue. Therefore, I advise addressing all questions to journalists from the ‘Ukrainska Pravda’. In my opinion, this article is either the result of a regrettable misunderstanding based on fabricated information, or a deliberate media attack used in an attempt to test and shape public opinion. In either case, it is clearly media manipulation, and this information is totally unsubstantiated. However, if these allegations against the opposition are being concocted to try and gain some sort of political advantage, both my political party and I have enough ammunition to discourage them from engaging in further defamation and slander. Also to discourage them from attempting to confiscate our companies. I will certainly not leave the country, as some people may hope.

Regarding today’s visit to the Prosecutor General’s Office, I will repeat what I said to our leading television journalists during an impromptu briefing on the GPU’s doorstep: to date, there have been investigations which are in no way related to Ukrainska Pravda’s allegations. I was interviewed with the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Oleksandr Drabynko. After talking, the investigating officer thanked me for my cooperation and effective work. I in turn thanked him for his professionalism and then we parted company. Despite whatever the Ukrainska Pravda’s article has implied, Drabynko and I were not involved in any kind of skirmish. The mass media are running a smear campaign against me, saying that I practically attacked him. But I did not. It is a false and malicious accusation, and I deny any wrongdoing. Drabynko himself supports this denial. In conclusion, all I can say is defamation and slander are morally wrong. It is an injustice and an outrage.

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