Zelensky issued with stark warning after travel ban for rival politicians

UK will need Ukraine leadership again if Trump is elected

A group of 27 parliamentarians from the UK and across Europe has written to the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament asking him to intervene on a travel ban imposed by President Zelensky on opposition politicians.

Amid concerns that some measures taken in response to the war caused by Vladimir Putin’s Russian invasion of the country, Zelensky has been warned that if he damages Ukrainian democracy he will in effect lose.

The Ukraine government imposed the ban because it claimed that some opposition politicians were going abroad to spread disinformation.

But there are fears he may be abusing his position to bolster his own political power and prevent others from challenging him in the future.

The letter crosses the left-right divide with signatories from 10 different countries representing diverse groups from across Europe.

READ MORE: Zelensky criticised for banning political rivals attending UK party conferences

Signatories include the leader of the European Conservatives, the heads of the Polish and Lithuanian delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the head of the Swedish delegation.

In particular, the letter highlights several cases where Ukrainian members of PACE were banned from attending Council of Europe sessions.

This is in direct contravention of Ukraine’s obligations as a member of the Council of Europe and Ukraine’s own Law on the Status of a People’s Deputy.

This letter follows Mr Iain Liddell Grainger’s intervention in his role as the Chairman of the European Conservatives and Democratic Alliance Grouping where he criticised Ukraine’s speaker from blocking members of his grouping attending PACE sessions.

Commenting on the situation, Oleksii Goncharenko, one of the MPs hit by the travel ban, said: “I am grateful to my European colleagues that have chosen to support Ukraine’s democracy.

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“It is important that our vital war efforts do not impinge on our democratic status.

“Democracy is the basis of Ukrainian resilience which makes us stronger than Russia’s tyranny. Losing democracy equals losing the war while securing democracy is one of the keys to winning the war.”

Goncharenko has been raising money for the war effort and touring European countries and the UK highlighting Russian atrocities.

However, he was prevented from attending the Conservative Party conference in Manchester earlier this month.

He was present for the Labour conference in Liverpool where he spoke to Express.co.uk but only because he had been given permission to attend the Council of Europe that week.

The letter to Ruslan Stefanchuk, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, stated: “Our Assembly has been by far the strongest supporter of Ukraine since the illegal warof aggression by the Russian Federation against your country.

“No war nor martial law are a justification to stop Members of Parliament doing their work and fulfilling their obligations towards the Assembly they were appointed, quite the contrary: this is the best moment to show the entire world that Ukraine is a functioning and pluralistic democracy, even in its darkest hours.

“We, Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, therefore urge you to allow all Ukrainian Members of our Assembly free passing of the state border, not to hinder them in their functions as a People’s Deputy and to review above mentioned Resolutions as soon as possible to be in line with Ukraine’s international obligations towards our institution.”

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