The Expresso claims that Russians are employed at the “gabinete de apoio aos refugiados,” where they “welcome” weary Ukrainians in Russian and inquire, “Where is your husband? How is he spending time in Ukraine?”
Yulia Khashina and Igor Khashin, a husband and wife duo, are the two Russian nationals mentioned by Expresso. The former is a town council employee; the latter is not. Igor, however, appeared to have been “on the computer” in the office, recording the personal information of some 160 refugees, according to Expresso.
Igor Khashin was one of the individuals mentioned by Lisbon’s Ukrainian ambassador, Inna Ohnivets, earlier in April when she warned media outlets of the dangers of espionage in having Russians host refugees who, in Igor Khashin’s case at least, are known to have “very close ties to the Russian embassy.”
As a result of this situation, PS council members have called for Ukrainian nationals to take over the work currently performed by Russians, PSD members of Setúbal council have “pondered” asking the communist mayor André Valente Martins to resign, and national parties (PSD and Iniciativa Liberal) have called for him to address the legislature.
Igor Khashin is “not simply pro-Putin,” according to the president of the Edinstvo immigrants association, which has received municipal assistance for the past 17 years. The Kremlin has acknowledged him as a supporter of the regime.
The 47-year-old reportedly signed a document endorsing the annexation of Crimea during a world congress of Russian compatriots in Moscow, where he represented Portugal.
The proclamation also referred to the Maidan uprising in Ukraine as a “coup d’etat.”
No safety for the refugees?
The Association of Ukrainians in Portugal has issued a stern warning on another grave concern on their immediate horizon, given the myriad doubts already stoked by the “war of misinformation” waging alongside the military struggle in Ukraine.
Six Charities with ties to Moscow, according to association president Pavlo Sadokha, “claim to be Ukrainians and support migrants in Portugal.”
In his response, Setúbal’s communist/green coalition mayor André Martins specifically made reference to this. He stressed that “none of the serious and unfounded suspicions” that circulated last April about the actions of the city council have been confirmed” and that no pertinent comment has been made regarding the potential motives of Igor Kashin and his wife.
The report “limits itself to pointing out a supposed “lack of sensitivity,” which the mayor described as a “purely subjective conclusion and only sustained by the personal convictions of the authors of the document,” in the face of the more than obvious lack of evidence of municipal misconduct in this case.
In other words, SetúbalTown Council seems to be trying to use this “dressing down” as an opportunity to declare, “It could have been a lot worse.”