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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Ukraine’s political veteran Yulia Tymoshenko sues government to get diplomatic passport back amid war

by Anna Myroniuk and Alexander KhrebetSeptember 26, 2022 1:09 am

Ukraine’s political veteran Yulia Tymoshenko sues government to get diplomatic passport back amid warYulia Tymoshenko speaks to a serviceman with the State Emergency Service in Kharkiv on Sept. 17, 2022 (Yulia Tymoshenko/ Facebook)

Former prime minister and leader of the Batkivshchyna party (26 seats in parliament) Yulia Tymoshenko along with fellow lawmaker Hryhoriy Nemyria are suing the foreign ministry to return their diplomatic passports, the Kyiv Independent learned from court records. 

Both were stripped of their diplomatic passports over the summer for not returning them to the foreign ministry within 10 days of returning from a work trip, as required. 

The lawmakers are now asking the court to force the ministry to return their diplomatic passports to them, as well as to cancel the norm that obliges them to hand the passports over to the ministry when not traveling. 

Tymoshenko and Nemyria have not responded to requests for comment by the time of publication.

In early August, the foreign ministry stripped 225 lawmakers of their diplomatic passports for failing to hand them in. Among them were the first deputy speaker of Verkhovna Rada Oleksandr Kornienko, head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People party faction David Arakhamia, and head of the Servant of the People’s party Olena Shulyak. 

“During the past month, the foreign ministry asked lawmakers several times to return the passports and worked with the Verkhovna Rada to organize this process. The last time we asked (lawmakers) to return the passports was in July. All of our appeals were ignored,” the ministry said in a comment to Ukrainska Pravda in August.

The media outlet said, citing their anonymous sources, that Zelensky was angry at lawmakers for traveling abroad during the war for no reason. 

The President’s Office declined to comment on Zelensky’s stance on diplomatic passports when asked by the Kyiv Independent.

The foreign ministry has not replied to a request for comment. 

Back in May, a number of lawmakers, including those from Tymoshenko's party, initiated a bill to cancel the norm that requires they hand in their diplomatic passports to the foreign ministry in between work trips. The bill hasn't been considered by parliament yet. 

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