Ukraine: Minister of Agriculture, suspected of corruption, submits his resignation

Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky, accused of having appropriated land belonging to the state before joining the government, presented his resignation in a letter made public Thursday by the speaker of parliament. Parliament “received a letter of resignation from Mykola Solsky,” its president Rouslan Stefantchouk said on Facebook, attaching the handwritten missive to his message. “I ask you to accept my resignation from the post of Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food,” it reads. Elected officials must now approve his resignation.

Corruption cases have emerged since the start of the Russian invasion

Several corruption cases have emerged in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022, particularly within the army. But they generally involve managers with less senior functions. Mykola Solsky confirmed having written this letter, believing that it was “the right thing to do”, in a message released by her ministry. He assured that he was ready to “continue working” if parliament refused his resignation.

On Tuesday, the national anti-corruption agency announced that Mykola Solsky was suspected of having seized public land worth “nearly 6.9 million euros” and of having “tried to ‘appropriate other land’ worth nearly 4.5 million euros. To this end, say the authorities, he acted in concert with officials from the state service responsible for land register and cartography.

From 2017 to 2021, they are suspected of having taken possession of nearly 2,500 hectares in the Sumy region, in the northeast, through a system that involved the misappropriation of official documents. Mykola Solsky worked for a law firm until 2019, according to her official biography. He was elected to Parliament that year and then appointed as a minister in March 2022.

“I promise maximum transparency to establish the truth”

The defendants also sought to seize another 3,282 hectares of land but prosecutors and anti-corruption officials “prevented” them from doing so, the national anti-corruption agency said.

The Ministry of Agriculture has made public a response from Mykola Solsky to these accusations, in which he claims that between 2017 and 2018 he held the position of lawyer and not public responsibilities. “I promise maximum transparency to establish the truth,” he added, according to this press release. The fight against corruption, an endemic evil in Ukraine, is one of the major conditions imposed by the Twenty-Seven on this country as part of its application for membership in the European Union.

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