KYIV -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has kicked a regional government official with a criminal record out of a meeting broadcast live on television.
"Get out of here, rogue! Are you not hearing me correctly?" Zelenskiy told Yaroslav Hodunok, a Boryspil city council secretary and parliamentary candidate, who is heard arguing with the president. "In English -- exit," Zelenskiy added.
The expulsion, which was filmed and later published online by the Ukrayinska Pravda news site, was met with applause from other officials and meeting attendees.
Zelenskiy had attended the meeting in the Kyiv region on July 10 to discuss projects including the construction of a new hospital.
Zelenskiy, a comedian and actor who was elected in April and took office in May, has vowed to root out the entrenched corruption that has plagued Ukraine for decades.
Polls indicate that his party, Servant of the People -- named after the TV comedy series in which he played a schoolteacher who accidentally becomes president after a video of him unleashing a profanity-filled tirade against corrupt politicians goes viral online -- stands to win big in July 21 parliamentary elections.
The spat with Hodunok began when Zelenskiy accused him of talking a lot but doing nothing for his city. Then, taking out his phone, the president read from what he said was Hodunok's rap sheet for robbery and violence.
"Tell me whether it is true or not," Zelenskiy said, laying into Hodunok. "A secretary of Boryspil city council was previously convicted of...robbery, combined with causing serious bodily injuries."
"Yaroslav Mikolayovych, is that you?" Zelenskiy asked, using Hodunok's first name and patronymic.
Hodunok, who is a member of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party and running for parliament in Boryspil, later told Ukrayinska Pravda that he would take Zelenskiy to court and that the 2002 case against him that the president quoted was bogus.
"I don't like thugs," Zelenskiy said after Hodunok was led out of the hall by secret service agents.