KIEV, January 11. /TASS/. Journalists of Ukraine’s 1+1 TV channel have requested the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to investigate the scandal around its embassy in Mexico, where visa applicants were told to "donate" at least $80 for the military operation in Donbass to obtain a Ukrainian visa.
The scandal broke out after Mexican lawyer Carlos Eduardo Soto Trevino, who is married to a Ukrainian citizen and therefore frequently visits the country, had sent a letter to Ukrainian journalists asking them to investigate the matter.
According to him, every time he applies for a Ukrainian visa, a consul in the Ukrainian embassy tells him to "donate some money for the needs of the Ukrainian army."
"Three times when I applied for a visa, they showed me an example of a letter and asked me to write something similar. The letter says that I’m making a voluntary contribution of about $80-100 to the consul or other embassy staff member. Only on this condition can I get a visa. Naturally, I have to pay the visa fee as well," he was quoted as saying.
Another Mexican citizen, Sergio Pena Serrano, who is also married to a Ukrainian woman, was also quoted as saying by the TSN news service that he had been "outraged by such unreasonably persistent calls for charity."
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry initiated a probe following the request from journalists, but, according to the TSN news service, no violations were found.
"I have to report that those contributions were voluntary. Therefore, some staff members made the decision to raise those funds on their own initiative and handed over the money to a military hospital in Kiev for the treatment of servicemen who were in the zone of hostilities," said Vasily Kirilich, the deputy head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s consular service.
According to TSN, the embassy gathered about $5,000 in such donations. However, neither the Kiev hospital nor volunteers confirmed receiving those money.
"Journalists have filed an additional request for an internal investigation to the Foreign Ministry," TSN reported.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry confirmed that an internal probe was opened into the matter.
"Due to information about an alleged fundraising campaign on part of first secretary Anna Prorok for the needs of the United Forces Operation, involving visitors of the Ukrainian Embassy to Mexico’s consular department, a disciplinary probe has been opened. Should any violations be found, the reaction will be prompt and principled," the UNN news agency quoted the Foreign Ministry’s press service as saying.