Orange Revolution leader faces expulsion calls over holiday
Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Timoshenko is in hot water over media reports that she spent the recent festive period holidaying in the United Arab Emirates as her country remained locked in a protracted conflict with Russia.
A Ukrainian MP has called on Timoshenko’s party to expel her in light of the reports of her New Year getaway.
“[I] am addressing the Fatherland [Party] with a call on Yulia Vladimirovna [Timoshenko] to be expelled from the parliamentary faction and the party,” Mariana Bezuglaya, the deputy head of the Ukrainian parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee, wrote on her Facebook page on Friday.
The high-ranking MP also published a photo purportedly showing the former leader spending her time on a beach in Dubai. Timoshenko, who served as Ukraine’s prime minister between 2007 and 2010, currently leads the Fatherland Party as well as the party’s faction in the national parliament or Verkhovna Rada.
Earlier on Friday, Ukraine’s Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper published a series of photos apparently depicting Timoshenko and her family relaxing in Dubai. The former prime minister reportedly spent a vacation in a villa belonging to the five-star Kempinski Hotel in the UAE. Ukrainian journalists said they photographed the politician at a private, closed beach on January 5.
In a separate piece, Ukrainskaya Pravda reported, citing an anonymous source within the Ukrainian border guard service, that the former prime minister had spent around a month in Dubai between December 27 and January 23. Her daughter moved to the UAE together with her family before the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, the paper added.
Timoshenko herself has not commented on the reports, and her party did not respond to Bezuglaya’s call.
Timoshenko, who was jailed under President Viktor Yanukovich on charges of abuse of office, actively supported the Maidan coup after her release in early 2014. Later the same year, her Fatherland Party sought to initiate a referendum on Ukraine’s accession to NATO.
The news comes as Kiev seeks to limit foreign trips by Ukrainian officials. On January 23, President Vladimir Zelensky signed an executive order banning all government and presidential administration officials as well as all MPs from traveling abroad for any reasons not related to their professional duties.