Speaker of Ukrainian parliament: Law enforcers must give clear answers on Poroshenko-Biden tapes

Author : News Agency

Respondent : Dmytro Razumkov

Source : 112 Ukraine

Find out an exclusive interview with Ukrainian politician serving as Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada
12:06, 22 May 2020

Open source

Verkhovna Rada has begun its work in normal mode, do you feel a return to a normal, quarantine life?

Unfortunately, not yet, just like the whole country, we have not yet exited from the lockdown. On the one hand, Verkhovna Rada did not have quarantine – we continued our work (May 20, Verkhovna Rada went on quarantine, because one of the MPs was infected, - ed.) We held less plenary meetings, but every week we had one or even two or three. More work was done in the committees; important bills related to the fight against coronavirus were developed. Here I should once more say words of gratitude to the apparatus, Ukrainian MPs, who did their job quite effectively. They put aside politics, especially at the first stage, when everyone understood the challenges that the coronavirus poses, they really worked hard.

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Today at a press conference we saw another scandal with “tapes of Derkach,” recordings of private phone calls several years ago between Vice President Joe Biden and Petro Poroshenko. How do you perceive this precedent today and mentioning of your name in this context?

Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to watch the whole broadcast. But the information is impressive. And the information itself and from which cabinets it may have come from. As for the information about me, then, fortunately, or unfortunately, legislative initiatives from Ukrainian MPs are more than enough. It’s impossible to work out everything, but I think that as the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, it will be wrong for me to react to all my colleagues exclusively to such demands of individual MPs. When we see that there is support and there is an opportunity to consider the initiatives of the MPs, we will certainly do this within the framework of the regulations and current legislation.

How should the inian law enforcement system respond to Derkach tapes?

In my opinion, the law enforcement system should respond 100%. Special services must also respond. Because if it really is true, then this was done in large offices. How did this information get to, where did it come from? But these are secondary issues. The main question for me as a person, as a citizen, is whether it corresponds to reality. If true, then the consequences should be more than harsh, as there are many questions (more than answers) in relation to these films. There is already an initiative in parliament to create a special commission related to the assessment and consideration of issues that were raised during this press conference and were media-announced. While it is not documented, but it seems to me that it will be continued.

A lot of discussion in society arises around some resonant affairs. Do you plan to call to communicate with Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova to report on high-profile cases?

Hearing the attorney general can be in several ways. Including communication or report on committees. As far as I know, Iryna Venediktova was invited to certain events. Unfortunately, I do not control whether it comes or not, but I hope this happens more or less. If we are talking about the report of the Prosecutor General within the walls of Verkhovna Rada, this is not planned yet. I know that there are initiatives of individual MPs, individual factions to seriously criticize the prosecutor general - this is their right.

Does Verkhovna Rada plan to support the current government’s action program?

I can’t say whether the entire parliament will support the government’s action program. And what kind of government action program is also a question. Today the Cabinet proposed a project, submitted to the Verkhovna Rada and passed part of the committees. There were 12 committees as of yesterday. Unfortunately, it was decided to return this document for revision. In fairness, I must say that they introduced their program as soon as they arrived, the coronavirus began, and there were many other tasks and challenges that faced Prime Minister Shmygal and other members of the government. Therefore, we will proceed from the fact that, most likely, the draft program proposed will require additional refinement, and then BP will make an appropriate decision.

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I would like to hear your position regarding the actions of the Ministry of Health.

If we are talking about evaluating the activities of the medical sector, it will be difficult to unequivocally answer the question. If we talk about our doctors who save lives today, they are doing more than they can. I think that they work at 110%. And if we talk about officials, then I think that the figure will still be less. However, it will be possible to give a real assessment of the fact that we have passed and will continue to take place, given the coronavirus crisis, only later, after some time, given what this difficult period of our state’s life will really end with. Comparing with the results that we have, and what we observed in many countries of Europe, the USA, Ukraine comes out quite well from this situation. Once again, I would like to thank the doctors.

parliamentary speaker
112 Agency

Tell us more about the ral state of the Ukrainian medical system and the ess of the medical reform, please.

Today, speaking about this issue, I just cannot call it “a success.” Like any event, there are positive things, but if you ask people, I don’t think that the ratings will be very positive. What will depend on the parliament in order to make healthcare system better, in order to protect our doctors, in order to introduce those positive reforms that will really change the reform of medicine, in the best direction, we will definitely do it. However, this is a joint process, and without the Cabinet, without a specialized ministry, it will be difficult to achieve it. If we are talking about some results and consequences of the so-called reform, then Mykhailo Radutsky and the ministers spoke a lot about this, that we do not even have statistics. At one time it was canceled. And comparing the incidence rate with previous years is quite difficult today.

Active discussions on the dual citizenship bill in Ukraine took place. Could you explain your position on this bill?

It was decided to subject this bill to additional discussion. At the conciliation council, many MPs came forward with reservations on the bill. If we are talking about today's realities, that is, the norms enshrined in the Constitution, and if we someday take this path, then this must be done correctly. And the right way is to amend the Constitution. I’m not sure that today's society is 100% ready for this. And in order to explain this, there must be a sufficiently deep, broad, and informational campaign, including a campaign, in order to destroy all the myths that exist, because there are so many of them around this process today and show the positive that exists.

One of the key claims to the bill is that MPs are excluded from the list of people who are forbidden to have a second passport.

I think that neither MPs, nor officials, nor those who are making public policy or implementing reforms should have two or more passports.

Related: Zelensky comments on released Poroshenko, Biden records: Verdict for Poroshenko is ahead

Are you going to participate in the mayoral elections in Kyiv?

If we talk about mayoral ambitions, then I do not have them. I am more than satisfied with the work that I do today. I hope that I will do it efficiently and successfully fulfill my functions. Today there are enough candidates for mayoral elections: both from representatives of the majority and from representatives of opposition forces. In this case, I’d better act as just a voter.

Do you have any favorites?

Like any person, I will also have people for whom I will be ready to vote.

Mr. Reznikov urges MPs of different factions to join the work. Will we see reinforcement, new impulses,and a push in the Minsk process, in the parliamentary dimension?

- Today there are representatives of the parliament in the TCG (Trilateral Contact Group). If we are talking about an official appeal to the parliament to delegate certain representatives, then no such proposals have been received from the Office of the President yet. If we are talking about the delegation of representatives of parliamentary factions and groups, which Oleksiy Reznikov spoke about, then each faction will independently decide it based on its civil and political position. To date, no such addresses have been received by the Verkhovna Rada.

-What is your opinion: should the parliament even participate in this negotiation process?

Today state, in fact, is involved in this process. It is necessary to participate in any process if this allows returning the temporarily occupied territories of Crimea and ending the war and returning the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas.

Related: Biden’s representative says leaked records of phone calls with Poroshenko heavily edited

Tomorrow will have been a year since Volodymyr Zelensky became president. He promised that the first bill he would submit to the Verkhovna Rada would be a referendum bill. It did not become the first, but now they are working on it. Mr. Stefanchuk said that soon the referendum bill would be put for voting in the session hall.

The text of this bill already exists. It was sent to various international organizations. Now it is directed to the Venice Commission. I hope that it will return soon with suggestions or comments. It was also sent to the Swiss Confederation because it is actually a model of national and local referendums and a good example of democracy. After that, this bill will be submitted to the Verkhovna Rada. As far as I understand, this will be the initiative of the president of the country.

parliamentary speaker
112 Agency

Can you tell us the timelines?

The main issue now is the return of the bill from the Venice Commission. I hope that before the holidays we can begin to consider it.

When, in your opinion, can the first referendum according to this bill take place in Ukraine?

The question here is not “when,” but the question of what will be the subject in it. I think this is a more important issue.

What issues would you put up?

There are more than enough issues in which it would be necessary to share an opinion and understand the position of the Ukrainian people. Therefore, I would use this mechanism.

It is good when consider the recommendations of the Venice Commission because we can also selectively choose them. These recommendations are not mandatory, so we can either listen to them, or not. For example, it was like this with the law on education,. But when we receive bills with IMF visas that are not satisfied with the final version, it is not a happy event at all.

Which ones are you talking about? I have not seen laws that would return to us with IMF visas.

We are talking about the market law. You remember the reaction of the IMF.

There may be a reaction, but there are definitely no visas there.        

Related: Audio records of Poroshenko, Kerry, Biden talks on Prosecutor General Shokin’s dismissal are published

Nobody put visas directly on the document, but the comments were such that it was difficult for the independent state to take in. The factions have different positions on further cooperation with the IMF. In the mono-majority, they are diametrically opposite. What are the prospects for further cooperation and this banking law?

Today, resolutions, which did not allow sending this banking law to the President of Ukraine, were rejected. In the near future, this law will be sent to the president for signature and the president will make a decision. As for the Verkhovna Rada, I think that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine will remain what it is and will work in the interests of Ukrainian society. 

When the adoption of a banking bill was discussed, the amendments to the parliament’s regulations were adopted. They were rumored to be temporary and that Verkhovna Rada would later pass a bill that would set these time frames. When is this planned?

Indeed, it was Law #1043, in fact, it is one of the first laws considered by the Verkhovna Rada, and between the first and second readings it remained under consideration of the committee. We proceeded from the opportunities there were at that time. It was adopted and there was a public agreement that immediately after it enters into force (because we could not amend it), a bill will be registered that slightly changes the essence of the bill: the number of amendments increases, a more correct and limited mechanism of for submitting amendments and proposals from Ukraine’s MPs is applied and it that it will be temporary. Such a bill was introduced to the Verkhovna Rada. Unfortunately, this decision is not made personally by me, but the Verkhovna Rada will make this decision, and this week it will be considered in the first reading. 

We are very grateful to you that despite a very busy schedule, you have found the opportunity to come to our studio.



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