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RFE/RL: Lawmaker overstayed approved leave in Hungary twice

by Nate Ostiller December 5, 2023 12:11 AM 2 min read
Ukrainian lawmaker Vitalii Bort in an undated photo (Ukraine's parliament)
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On two separate occasions, Ukrainian lawmaker Vitalii Bort traveled to Hungary for an approved three-day business trip but stayed for an extra month, RFE/RL's Schemes project reported on Dec. 4.

On both occasions, first in April 2023 and then again in July, Bort stayed longer than Ukraine's parliament approved and missed work days as a result.

Bort has traveled abroad eight times since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, for a total of 207 days, Schemes said, citing unnamed sources. He did not respond to requests for comment.

While in Hungary, Bort met with Lorinc Nacsa, a member of Hungary's parliament and associate of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has been banned from entering Ukraine.

They allegedly discussed "prospects for the formation of good-neighborly relations" between Hungary and Ukraine.

Since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Hungary has repeatedly obstructed EU support for Kyiv, opposed sanctions against Russia, and now threatens to thwart Ukraine's EU aspirations.

Schemes also said that its previous investigations into Bort's travels found that he had traveled to Russian-occupied Crimea several times after its illegal annexation in 2014, which is forbidden by Ukrainian law.  

Under martial law, Ukrainian men aged between 18 and 60, with some exceptions, are not allowed to leave the country as they may be called up for military service.

Lawmakers are allowed to go on official trips, but they require permission from Ukraine's parliament.

Other lawmakers have previously been accused of violating this law, such as Oleksandr Dubinsky, who is suspected of personally going on unauthorized trips abroad, as well as allegedly helping his civil partner's brother leave Ukraine illegally.

Dubinsky has since been charged with high treason in an unrelated case.

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