21-05-2022 10:49 PM Jerusalem Timing

Ukraine Economy Minister Resigns over State Graft

Ukraine Economy Minister Resigns over State Graft

Ukraine’s economy minister abruptly tendered his resignation Wednesday saying overwhelming corruption had stifled his efforts to push through measures essential to getting growth back on track in the cash-strapped country.

Ukraine's economy minister abruptly tendered his resignation Wednesday saying overwhelming corruption had stifled his efforts to push through measures essential to getting growth back on track in the cash-strapped country.

Aivaras Abromavicius's shock departure laid bare divisions within the pro-Western government of President Petro Poroshenko and highlighted the uphill battle the former Soviet nation faces in enacting the necessary changes to join the European Union. Ukraine's economy minister Aivaras Abromavicius resigns

"Today, I made the decision to submit my resignation from the post of minister of Ukraine's economic development and trade," the Lithuanian-born minister told reporters in Kiev.

"The reason is the sharp escalation in efforts to block systemic and important reforms."

Abromavicius and Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko were both appointed in December 2014 as part of Poroshenko's efforts to bring new blood into the war-shattered country's attempts to return to growth.

The resignation comes in the midst of growing parliamentary displeasure with Poroshenko's cabinet and infighting between political interests tied to powerful business tycoons.

Abromavicius alleged that unnamed powerful figures were "trying to establish control over financial resources -- first and foremost those of the Naftogaz (state oil and energy company) and the defense industry."

"I refuse to work in such a system," the 40-year-old former banker said.

"I and my team are not ready to provide cover for the restoration of old -- and the creation of new -- schemes (built) in the interests of particular political and business players."

The graft-riven country of about 40 million has been one of Europe's worst economic performers since winning independence in 1991.