Ukraine MP 'sorry' for prostitute chat in parliament

MP Bohdan Yaremenko was photographed discussing services and prices on his phone with a prostitute Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption MP Bohdan Yaremenko was photographed discussing services and prices with a prostitute

A Ukrainian MP has apologised after he was photographed chatting with a woman believed to be a prostitute on his phone in parliament.

Bohdan Yaremenko, who is married and has two children, was snapped by a journalist with Bukvy website discussing sex services and prices.

The politician, who is head of the Foreign Relations Committee, was later pictured browsing profiles in the dating app Tinder.

Mr Yaremenko initially defended his actions on Facebook, calling them a "deliberate provocation" done in order to shame snooping journalists.

It is not uncommon for Ukrainian journalists to expose the private chats of politicians during parliamentary sessions.

Mr Yaremenko later deleted his statement, issuing an apology "to everyone to whom I caused problems, from my wife and kids, to my party and the president".

Social media users in the country took the opportunity to poke fun at the MP, who is closely linked with President Volodymyr Zelensky and has supported some of the president's recent controversial decisions.

"An MP, the head of the foreign relations committee, a family man chats with a prostitute in parliament to … prank journalists!" journalist Yuriy Butusov said sarcastically.

Author Andriy Kokotyukha wrote "for Ukraine's national interests, contacts like this are much safer than Yaremenko's initiatives to co-ordinate with Russia", referring to the MP's support of the government's peace initiatives with Russia, which many Ukrainians view as capitulation.

Journalist Viktor Trehubov referred to a recent law in Ukraine obliging officials and public sector workers to use Ukrainian, rather than Russian language, at work.

"I have two questions for Yaremenko. One - why not in the state language? You are at work, after all," Mr Trehubov commented.

"I see nothing wrong here, but I would love to hear the MP's views on the legalisation of prostitution," popular blogger Serg Marco wrote on Facebook.

"I think this is the best time to ask Mr Yaremenko what he thinks of legalisation of sex workers, taxation and social guarantees to sex workers.

"I'm sure we will learn a lot of interesting things about these double-faced individuals," popular blogger Alex Noinets wrote on Facebook.

In 2015 a Ukrainian MP resigned following a leaked chat that appeared to reveal an extra-marital relationship.

In the messages he discussed going on holiday in the Maldives with a woman called Olha. His wife was called Inna.