A Ukrainian company from occupied Melitopol was spotted at an agricultural exhibition in the United Arab Emirates flying the Russian flag. This company belongs to Liudmyla Zheleva, a current deputy of the Servant of the People party in the Zaporizhzhia Regional Council. She registered her business in accordance with Russian law. The faction plans to deprive the deputy of her mandate.

This was reported by Slidstvo.Info.

The capital of the United Arab Emirates hosted the Gulfood agricultural exhibition, where the products of Melitopol Oil Extraction Plant LLC were noticed. Prior to the full-scale invasion, the company produced vegetable oil and processed products under the Ukrainian flag, but now it appears that the business is operating in the temporarily occupied territories and has been re-registered under Russian law.

Melitopol Oil Extraction Plant stand at the Gulfood exhibition in Dubai / Photo by Latifundist.com

Melitopol Oil Extraction Plant LLC is currently owned by Liudmyla and Serhii Zhelev. Liudmyla is a current deputy of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Council, and her husband was a deputy from the Opposition Platform for Life in the Zaporizhzhia Regional Council of the previous convocation. Serhiy resigned his mandate to become the Honorary Consul of Bulgaria in Ukraine.

The couple seem to be living in the temporarily occupied territories. Liudmyla has not attended regional council sessions since the start of the large-scale invasion, and Bulgarian media reported, citing former Melitopol mayor Ivan Fedorov, that Serhii Zhelev was abducted by Russians.

In 2023, Serhii and Liudmyla established several businesses in Melitopol in accordance with Russian law.


Companies registered by Liudmyla and Serhii Zhelev in Russia in 2023

Vitaliy Pasevin, the head of the Servant of the People faction in the Zaporizhzhia Regional Council, says he has not had contact with Liudmyla since 24 February 2022. He learnt from Slidstvo.Info journalists that a deputy from his faction has a business in the temporarily occupied territories.

“This should not happen — this is my personal opinion and that of my political force. If people cooperate with Russia, they should not remain MPs,” Pasevin said.

Pasevin explained that it is not so easy to take away a deputy’s mandate. One of the options is by a court decision, or the party can apply a mandatory mandate. The latter option is used if the MP fails to comply with the will of the voters and the party.

So far, the party is only deciding how to deprive Zheleva of her mandate. 

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