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Ukraine’s Interior Ministry refutes reports about criminal probe against Odessa mayor

February 11, 1:50 UTC+3 KIEV
"The Interior Ministry is not investigating anything for sure," the Liga newspaper quoted the ministry’s spokesman, Artyom Shevchenko, as saying. "The national police may be looking into the case"
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Fadeichev

KIEV, February 11. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has not launched a criminal investigation against Odessa regional Governor, Georgia’s former President Mikhail Saakashvili, who in January uploaded a video of his visit to positions of Ukrainian troops in Donbass.

"The Interior Ministry is not investigating anything for sure," the Liga online newspaper quoted on Wednesday the ministry’s spokesman, Artyom Shevchenko, as saying. "The national police may be looking into the case."

Besides, Shevchenko said that spokesman for the Donbass military operation headquarters Andrey Lysenko was wrong speaking about a criminal case launched against Saakashvili.

"Lysenko said and was wrong," Shevchenko said.

"The Interior Ministry has launched an investigation," Lysenko said then clarifying that the video footage disclosed classified information.

He said the footage could entail punishment under several articles of the Criminal Code. "However, the military prosecutor’s office institutes proceedings and investigates without making public statements. The final decision is with the court," Lysenko said.

In January, Saakashvili posted on his Facebook page a video of his visit to the place where an Interior Ministry battalion was headquartered near Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine.

He said he wanted to draw attention to well-being of Ukrainian troops who had to do without toilets and conduct their service in makeshift barracks made of plywood.

"After certain hesitations I still have decided to post the video, as this outrage has continued for more than a year, and the services in charge had enough time to remedy the situation," he wrote.

Several maps could be clearly seen on the video as well as the faces of some servicemen, and the locality was also recognizable.

In the meantime, representatives of the areas in Donbass not controlled by the Kiev government said they found nothing secret in the video.

"We have shown some interest in the footage only since it features - first, the troops’ low morale and second, logistic support to the areas where they are stationed," spokesman for the Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Eduard Basurin said, aired by the Rossiya 24 television.

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