Ukrainian minister accused of graft formally resigns

Ukrainian minister accused of graft formally resigns

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Ukraine’s agriculture minister formally resigned from his post on Friday after he was named a suspect in a multimillion-dollar corruption investigation.

Mykola Solsky offered to step down in April amid accusations he seized land worth more than $7 million while working as the head of a major farming company.

“The Ukrainian parliament has accepted the resignation of Mykola Solsky, Minister of Food and Agriculture of Ukraine,” the agriculture ministry said.

Blighted by severe corruption scandals since the fall of the Soviet Union, Kyiv has pledged to bolster its anti-graft efforts as part of its bid for EU membership and to reassure its Western military backers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has equated wartime corruption with “treason”, sacking his defence minister last year over a series of graft scandals in the army as it battles Russia’s military offensive.

Solsky was accused by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) of heading a group that expropriated state land in the northeastern Sumy region between 2017 and 2021.

Solsky said he was “sympathetic” to the NABU’s concerns but firmly rejected the accusations against him in his resignation speech to parliament.

“Neither I, nor my relatives, nor anyone else, as far as I understand, among the suspects in the case, has received a single hectare of this land,” he said.

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