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Ukraine president kicks official out of meeting over criminal record

Ukraine president kicks official out of meeting over criminal record

KIEV: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had a regional official expelled from a meeting broadcast live on television on Wednesday because of a past criminal record.

“Get out of here, rogue! Are you not hearing me correctly?” he told Yaroslav Hodunok, to applause from other officials present at the otherwise routine meeting.

The official threatened legal action against Zelenskiy, telling a newspaper the 2002 case against him was wrong.

A comedian and actor, Zelenskiy won election in April promising to root out corruption. His Servant of the People party is on course to win a July 21 parliamentary election.

Zelenskiy was meeting officials from the Kiev region to discuss projects including a new city hospital yet to be built.

Hodunok, local council secretary and member of the Fatherland party of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, said there were problems with financing.

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Zelenskiy said Hodunok talked a lot but did nothing, then read from his phone what he said was his criminal record for robbery and violence.

“Tell me whether it is true or not … a secretary of Boryspil city council was previously convicted of … robbery, combined with causing serious bodily injuries. Yaroslav Mikolayovych, is that you?”, he asked, using Hodunok’s first name and patronymic.

“I don’t like gangsters”, he said after his bodyguards led Hodunok out of the hall.

The previously little-known official told reporters afterwards he would take the president to court.