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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Kyiv launches a wave of searches before a key meeting with the EU

The police carried out a series of searches on Wednesday at the homes of several civil servants, members of the administration and prominent figures. A “clean hands” operation which comes just before the holding of a first Ukraine-EU summit during which kyiv hopes to see a European future take shape.

In the midst of war against Russia, Ukraine is attacking a second front: that of corruption, a scourge that has plagued the country for several decades. kyiv on Wednesday February 2 launched a wave of searches targeting administrations, civil servants and personalities, the authorities ensuring that the fight against financial embezzlement is a priority.

“Justice will be done,” said the president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his daily message on the Internet, reporting “dozens of searches and other actions in different regions and against different people in the context of criminal proceedings”.

The boss of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), Vasyl Maliouk, specified that it was a “first step” to “deal a blow to the internal enemy”.

Among the personalities targeted by these highly publicized police raids, the billionaire Igor Kolomoiski, one of the richest men in Ukraine, but also the former Minister of the Interior, Arsen Avakov, two “ex-relatives among the close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy,” explains Elena Voloshin, France 24’s special envoy to Ukraine.

Pledges to Westerners

The SBU released images of the search of Igor Kolomoiski’s home, as part of a 40 billion Hryvnia (about one billion euros at the current rate) embezzlement case involving oil companies.


In addition, the customs department was thanked while senior officials from the Ministry of Defense also received a visit from investigators.

The anti-corruption campaign comes just a week after a series of senior officials were sacked in the wake of a scandal over army supplies: authorities suspect embezzlement via overvalued contracts for foodstuffs for soldiers.

An unacceptable affair for public opinion in the context of the war effort and promises of Western aid. The Ukrainian president is counting on his allies to provide him with increasingly powerful weapons. Ukraine in particular wants high-precision missiles with a range of more than 100 kilometers to destroy Russian supply lines in order to overcome its shortage in manpower and equipment.

The quest for a European future

“Zelensky no longer really has a choice, he who depends on Western aid to resist the Russian invasion”, analyzes Elena Voloshin. “The other front is that of the Ukrainians who are ready to give their lives in this war not so that corrupt elites continue to enrich themselves but to satisfy their European dream”.

A dream that Ukraine would like to see take shape during a summit with the EU on Friday, which should make it possible to strengthen cooperation, particularly in the field of energy, but also to promote the integration of kyiv into the market. interior. This summit will be preceded by a meeting of members of the European Commission and the Ukrainian government.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s campaign promise, the fight against corruption is an imperative in the eyes of Europeans before considering accession negotiations. Despite a positive dynamic initiated since 2014, corruption remains endemic in Ukraine. According to the latest ranking published on Tuesday by Transparency International, kyiv is in 116th place out of 180. Far, very far from European standards.

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