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Ukraine's Ruling Party Expels U.S.-Sanctioned Lawmaker

Oleksandr Dubinskiy (right) speaks next to his lawyer, Tetyana Kostina, during a press conference in Kyiv on January 18.
Oleksandr Dubinskiy (right) speaks next to his lawyer, Tetyana Kostina, during a press conference in Kyiv on January 18.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's party has voted to expel a lawmaker after he was put under U.S. sanctions over alleged U.S. election interference.

A majority of lawmakers from the Servant of the People party on February 1 voted to remove Oleksandr Dubinskiy from the ruling party's parliamentary faction.

Deputy Olha Vasylevska-Smahlyuk wrote on her Telegram channel that Dubinskiy was expelled in "the shortest meeting of the Servant of the People faction ever."

The faction voted 198 to 29 to remove the controversial lawmaker from the party. Nineteen party members abstained.

Dubinskiy denies the election meddling allegations and in a statement after the decision condemned the party.

"We have seen the true face of political actors in both the president's office and the Ukrainian parliament, and we are well aware that this is a manipulative result that was needed by specific people to receive specific political dividends and to solve their own problems," he told the press.

The U.S. Treasury on January 11 imposed sanctions on seven individuals and four entities, accusing them of U.S. election interference and involvement in a Russia-linked foreign-influence network associated with Ukrainian parliament deputy Andriy Derkach. Among those blacklisted was Dubinskiy.

Derkach, who was sanctioned separately in September, has been linked to efforts by then-President Donald Trump's allies to find compromising information on President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Trump's request to Zelenskiy during a July 2019 call led the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach the former president for two crimes. Trump was eventually acquitted by the Senate in early 2020, but the case damaged his administration's relationship with Kyiv.

Ukraine relies on Washington for support against Russia since Moscow illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

In late January, Ukraine's presidential office said it had launched a criminal investigation into attempts to interfere in the November U.S. presidential election and would do everything in its power to bring to justice those who attempted to damage relations between Ukraine and the United States.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service and Reuters
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