Member of Parliament from the group “Will of the People”, former member of the Party of Regions, Oleksandr Ponomariov, pried off mobile phone from the hands of the parliamentary correspondent of the online media outlet “Censor.NET” Ivan Marusenko, while the journalist was recording the commentary of MP using the cell phone camera, Censor.NET reports.
The incident took place on February 7 on the sidelines of the Verkhovna Rada, when the journalist was recording a heated conversation of Ponomariov and MP from “Batkivshchyna”, Serhiy Sobolev. The latter reported on February 6 about the scheme of purchase of machine oil for the military that caused malfunction of their vehicles. He also quoted the court judgment ruling to take possession of all documentation of the company “Agrinol”, of which Oleksandr Ponomariov is an owner.
Sobolev’s assistant was also obstructing the work of journalists, trying to get in front of the camera. After the heated conversation of Ponomariov and Sobolev, Ponomariov started swearing and yelling at journalists, saying they are recording his private conversation, and at some point, pried off the cell phone from the hands of the parliamentary journalist of Censor.NET, and declared that he will give it back only “after we go outside and have a conversation”, the media outlet reports. After demands to return the phone, Ponomariov started claiming he never took it. After that, Ponomariov forcefully took another journalist’s phone, and as journalists tried to explain him he was obstructing their work, he called security and demanded to expel the journalists from the building of the Parliament.
After this, Ponomariov took his winter clothes and went outside, ignoring the demands of the journalists to return their phones. He also threatened the journalist of Censor.NET, attempting to steal the third phone from the hands of journalist who was recording the event.
In the end, Ponomariov had to return the phones to the journalists. The media outlet Censor.NET considers the acts of Ponomariov a criminal offense, an impediment to work of journalists, and demands to start criminal proceeding on it.
Marusenko, the journalist, commented that he does not recall such an outrageous behavior of MPs. Also he thinks that if not the scandal and other journalists recording it, Ponomariov would just walk away with the stolen phone, and probably would never return it.