One of the five deputies whose mandate has been revoked is Viktor Medvedchuk, who is reportedly a godfather to Russian President Vladimir Putin's daughter. (file photo)
KYIV -- Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has revoked the mandates of five lawmakers, four of whom are suspected of high treason.
Ukrainian lawmaker Yaroslav Zheleznyak said in a post on Telegram on January 13 that lawmakers voted to cancel the mandates of Andriy Derkach, Taras Kozak, Rinat Kuzmin, and Viktor Medvedchuk due to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's move to deprive them of citizenship two days earlier. The mandate of the fifth lawmaker, Andriy Aksonov, was rendered invalid at his own request, Zheleznyak's Telegram post said .
On January 10, Zelenskiy said he deprived Derkach, Kozak, Kuzmin, and Medvedchuk of Ukrainian citizenship due to facts collected by the State Security Service and the State Migration Service, suggesting that the four committed high treason. The constitution states that the loss of citizenship can be presented as the basis for having a parliamentary mandate revoked. At least three of the men are outside Ukraine at the moment. The four were elected as members of the Russia-friendly Opposition Platform--For Life party, which is currently banned in Ukraine. Derkach has been a Ukrainian legislator for more than two decades, but investigators believe he received more than half a million dollars from Russian law enforcement and intelligence agencies "for subversive activities against Ukraine during 2019-2022." He has not attended a parliamentary sessions since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February last year. Medvedchuk, a longtime Ukrainian political fixture and reportedly a godfather to Russian President Vladimir Putin's daughter, was detained in April and handed over to Russia in a prisoner exchange in September. Kozak left Ukraine in 2021. Pretrial investigators say Kuzmin "placed propaganda materials to the detriment of Ukraine" in the media. Aksonov was elected to the Verkhovna Rada in April 2021 for the Poryadok (Order) party. But his election caused controversy as investigative reports in 2017 revealed he may have Russian citizenship. None of the five men has publicly responded to the move stripping them of their mandates.