Newly appointed President's Office Head Andriy Yermak, has commented on the investigation by the program of the U.S.-government funded Radio Free Liberty/Radio Europe (RFE/RL) Schemes: Corruption in Details (Schemes) investigation of President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to Oman.
"Where is the evidence of specific people? Where is the objective data? Did the audience hear anything other than 'according to our sources?' We seek dialogue and are ready to comment on the facts. The main problem is that nothing to comment on. It's all a lie from beginning to end, and there is not a single objective statement that could become a real, subject for discussion," Yermak said on Facebook.
Yermak added that the authorities are ready to answer any questions, are ready to communicate with journalists, adding "But I would like to answer questions based on facts, not assumptions."
Yermak said anyone can release a story about someone in which the only evidence will be "according to our sources," with a manipulative script and dramatic music.
"Is this acceptable, is it journalism? Is it a professional job? Anyone with critical thinking skills will say no," he said.
At the same time, he said the President's Office holds the position that freedom of speech is an important priority, adding that the government is ready for constructive criticism, supported by facts.
The investigation (a joint project with UA:Pershy TV channel), aired on February 13, states that the charter plane used by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on January 8 to return to Kyiv from Muscat, Oman, earlier flew to Oman from Moscow, according to "information from public online aircraft tracking services."
"According to the source of Schemes, at about 01:00 in the morning on January 8, Russian statesman Nikolai Patrushev (Secretary of Russia's Security Council) flew to Oman from Moscow. Journalists were able to obtain confirmation of this information using another, unrelated source in the database on crossing Russia's border," Schemes said.
Schemes cited the comment from the President's Office, which states "Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is not familiar, has never talked on the phone, never met and, therefore, has not discussed any issues with Patrushev."
As reported, on January 5, the President's Office said Zelensky was in Oman, where he and his family departed by scheduled flight at his own expense. The message said visits were planned for the president there.
On January 5, Zelensky met with Oman's Foreign Affairs Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah for reported discussion about investments from Oman. On January 6, during a meeting with the Executive President of the State General Reserve Fund of Oman Abdulsalam Al Murshidi, Zelensky discussed the intensification of investment cooperation between the countries.
On the morning of January 8, the President's Office said Zelensky interrupted his visit to Oman and was urgently returning to Ukraine in connection with the crash of the Ukrainian UIA plane in Iran.
On the night of January 9, a meeting about the disaster involving the Ukrainian plane in Tehran was held in the President's Office.