Ukrainian media said that Vladimir Zelensky could meet with Nikolai Patrushev in Oman, Moscow and Kiev deny this
The administrations of the presidents of Russia and Ukraine deny that Vladimir Zelensky met in Oman in January with Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev.
Press secretaries of both Vladimir Putin and Zelensky reacted to the investigation of the Schemes: Corruption in Details program – a joint project of the Ukrainian Radio Liberty service and the Ukrainian television channel UA: First. It stated that Patrushev flew to the Middle East state of Oman on a charter plane at a time when Zelensky was there. There is no direct allegation that the President of Ukraine met with Patrushev in Oman, the investigation does not.
The Schematic investigation alleges that Patrushev flew to Oman from Moscow on the night of January 8 with a Bombardier Global Express 6000 with tail number 9H-VJN. And on the evening of January 8, Vladimir Zelensky returned to Kiev on the same plane. This is not about Patrushev's private jet, but about a charter plane, which can be chartered by any person.
Allegations that Patrushev was on board the flight to Oman are based on data from Scheme sources familiar with the database on crossing the Russian border. The fact that Zelensky was aboard the same plane from Oman to Kiev has not been officially confirmed either.
The Schemes also claim that the Secretary of the Russian Security Council in December met with Kharkiv Mayor Gennady Kernes and Robert Tedeev. He, in turn, is a relative of the former deputy from the Party of Regions Elbrus Tedeev, whose assistant was the new head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak.
Nikolai Patrushev is considered one of the closest Russian officials to Vladimir Putin. He repeatedly made harsh statements in relation to Ukraine. So, in January 2019, he declared that Ukraine could “lose statehood” if it continued its current policy, and in March 2019 he expressed the opinion that “Ukraine is controlled from outside, namely from Washington.”
Zelensky’s spokeswoman, Yulia Mendel, wrote on Facebook that “it’s difficult to refute that one of the Russian officials is flying to Oman”, but categorically rejected that the Ukrainian president met with Patrushev in this country. “They never really met or talked,” Mendel wrote.
The office of the President of Ukraine said that he would sue with a demand for the Scheme program to refute “untrue information” and apologize, writes Pravda.ua. The head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak previously called the investigation of the “Schemes” “a lie from beginning to end.”
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the news of the meeting between Patrushev and Zelensky is “nonsense” and “a classic example of fake news,” referring to the meeting itself, and not the alleged flight of Patrushev to Oman. It is reported by TASS. Answering a question about the distribution of such information, the representative of the Kremlin suggested that the authors of such publications "either pursue some provocative goals, or it is a thirst for profit."
Meanwhile, the name of Patrushev repeatedly surfaced when it was a question of possible secret negotiations between Moscow and the authorities of various states. In 2018, the media associated Patrushev’s visit to Thailand with the arrest of Nastya Rybka. In 2016, the British press wrote that Patrushev flew to Serbia to “put out” the scandal surrounding Russian intelligence agents who were allegedly preparing a coup in Montenegro. "Patrushev's plane" surfaced in the "Argentine scandal" in 2018. Then it was alleged that the special board was used a year earlier for transporting diplomatic cargo – "suitcases with cocaine", which was exchanged for flour.