The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and other Russian and Ukrainian media reported that a criminal case had been launched against Odessa governor Mikheil Saakashvili because of his trips to the eastern Ukrainian war zone.

Website Screenshot Novaya Gazeta
Website Screenshot Novaya Gazeta

This story was based on an interview that the Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko gave to Novaya Gazeta. During the interview he answered a question about Saakashvili’s visit to the war zone, a visit that was videotaped and then uploaded to social media. Many have criticized Saakashvili for posting this footage onto completely open forums.

Here is the literal quote published by Novaya Gazeta: “ What is strictly forbidden for journalists, was done by a high official. I think the military police and our counterintelligence should evaluate this. As far as I know the Interior Ministry has already begun an investigation.”


Based on this information, various media published stories claiming that a criminal investigation into Saakashvili’s visit was launched.

Lysenko however, never said this and published a statement to that effect on his Facebook page. The interview, he wrote, had been done in January and was not run until various media published stories about an alleged criminal investigation involving the Odessa governor. Lysenko accused Novaya Gazeta of twisting his words and quoting him out of context. He also called on journalists not to fall for provocative statements and Russian propaganda.

Website screenshot
Website screenshot Ukrainska Pravda

The story about a fake criminal investigation into Saakashvili’s visit into the war zone can still be found on  Ukrainska Pravda, the newspaper Sehodnya , the website E95 and others.

Website screenshot Segodnya
Website screenshot Sehodnya
Website screens E 95
Website screenshot E 95