President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky

Dan Peleshchuk

Kyiv (Reuters) – Ukraine’s ruling party has expelled a member of parliament after reports that he traveled to Thailand during Ukraine’s war with Russia sparked public outcry.

Party spokeswoman Yulia Paliychuk said on Friday that Mykola Tyshchenko was expelled from the Servant of the People bloc after an announcement briefly appeared on the website of the Ukrainian embassy in Thailand that Tyshchenko would meet with members of the Ukrainian diaspora at a hotel.

Tishchenko said on Facebook that he was on a business trip in Asia with the approval of the party leadership, “acting solely in the interests of Ukraine.” Parliament Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk said he did not approve of such a trip.

The visit to sunny Southeast Asia comes amid President Volodymyr Zelensky’s crackdown on the image of a more responsible government.

More than a dozen high-ranking officials were sacked or resigned this week, including a deputy prosecutor who was criticized by the press for taking a holiday in Spain in the biggest overhaul of Kyiv’s leadership since the start of the war.

Zelenskiy announced this week a ban on private travel of employees abroad. Most Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 60 have already been banned from leaving the country under martial law since Russia launched its full-scale invasion last February.

(Reporting by Dan Peleshchuk)