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Military intelligence denies granting Arestovych right to leave Ukraine

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 1, 2024 4:31 PM 2 min read
Former presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych at a forum in Kyiv on Dec. 11, 2020. (Evgen Kotenko/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Military intelligence denied reports from Ukrainian investigative outlet NGL Media on Feb. 1 that Oleksiy Arestovych, a controversial blogger and former president's office aide, could leave Ukraine with their permission.

Under martial law, Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 need special permission to leave the country. Arestovych left Ukraine at the beginning of September 2023 and has not returned since.

Following the publication of NGL Media's report, which cited an anonymous source in the State Border Service, the military intelligence said it "did not provide the specified person with any letters or any other documents for going abroad."

The State Border Guard Service also refused to explain why Arestovych was able to leave, citing the fact that "information about a person crossing the state border concerns his private life."

Arestovych resigned from the President's Office in January 2023 after falsely claiming that Ukrainian air defense had hit a Russian missile before it destroyed an apartment building in Dnipro on Jan. 14, killing at least 46 people.

In his role as advisor, he had also traveled abroad, but these trips "lasted no longer than nine days," NGL Media noted.

National Police opened an investigation into Arestovych in November 2023 under Article 383 of the Criminal Code, which covers the intentional misreport of a criminal offense.

A popular voice in the early days of the full-scale invasion, Arestovych's accessibility and calm demeanor gained him a substantial following and greatly raised his profile in the media, where he was frequently cited. However, many of his claims would prove false or misleading.

He also made multiple controversial statements about Ukrainian culture, the LGBT community, Ukrainian servicewomen, and other topics before and after the invasion, quickly damaging his reputation among the Ukrainian public.

He has remained vocal since his departure and has floated the idea that he might run for president, among other criticisms of President Volodymyr Zelensky and the current Ukrainian government.

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