Ukrainian president's party expels lawmaker on U.S. sanctions list for election interference

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Dubinsky is seen during a parliament session in Kyiv, Ukraine November 13, 2019. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s party voted on Monday to expel Oleksandr Dubinsky after the lawmaker was put on a U.S. sanctions list for election meddling, fellow legislators said.

Last month Washington slapped sanctions on several Ukrainian individuals and entities, accusing them of interference in U.S. elections and associating with a pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker linked to efforts by then-President Donald Trump’s allies to dig up dirt on his successor, Joe Biden, and his son.

Dubinsky denies the election meddling allegations and in a statement on Monday accused his colleagues of “cowardice and meanness”.

“Unfortunately, the events of the last three weeks have clearly and distinctly demonstrated the true face of the actors on the political stage of Ukraine,” he said.

Daniil Getmantsev, a lawmaker with the ruling Servant of the People party, told Interfax Ukraine that Dubinsky had been ejected after a vote that was held over three days.

The party’s parliamentary faction leader David Arakhamia and another lawmaker, Olha Vasylevska-Smahliuk, said the majority of the its 246 lawmakers had voted to expel Dubinsky.

Ukraine has sought to turn the page on relations with Washington after being unwillingly sucked into the political battle over Trump’s impeachment in 2019.

The Trump administration temporarily froze military aid to Ukraine as Trump pressed Zelenskiy’s administration to investigate Biden. Washington has been Kyiv’s most powerful ally against Russia since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Zelenskiy’s administration has said it will hold people to account for meddling in U.S. elections, “regardless of party affiliation”.

Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Mark Heinrich