Ukrainian parliament approves resignation of interior minister
Kyiv, Jul 15 (EFE) .- The Ukrainian parliament on Thursday approved the resignation of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.
In a surprising move, Avakov submitted his resignation letter on July 13, providing no reason for his decision.
Avakov was the longest-serving minister in the current Ukrainian government. He became Minister of the Interior in February 2014, immediately after the Maidan Revolution, in which he participated and which resulted in the ousting of President-elect Viktor Yanukovych and the overthrow of his government.
Avakov served under two presidents, Petro Poroshenko and current leader Volodimir Zelenskiy. During this time, his influence grew and he is considered by commentators as one of the most influential figures in Ukraine after the president.
Avakov has a mixed record. He was praised for suppressing a separatist uprising in his hometown of Kharkiv in the spring of 2014, when Russian-backed activists attempted to occupy government buildings, as they did in the nearby towns of Donetsk and Luhansk .
At the same time, Avakov has also been accused of failing to effectively implement the police reform, initiated in 2015. Calls for his resignation have intensified after several incidents of police violence over the past two years, including the murder of a 5-year-old boy by a drunken policeman and the rape of a witness at a police station in the Kiev region.
Avakov has also been criticized for failing to properly investigate two high-profile murder cases: that of an activist from the southern town of Kherson, Katerina Handziuk, in 2018, and that of Pavel Sheremet, a journalist for Belarusian origin, who was killed in a car bomb. in Kiev in 2016.
The Interior Ministry spokesperson contacted by EFE declined to comment on the reasons for Avakov’s resignation, although deputies from the ruling People’s Servant party suggested it was likely due to the botched investigation into the Sheremet case.
Avakov has also been accused of corruption and supporting far-right movements in Ukraine.
On Friday, the Ukrainian parliament is due to vote on Avakov’s successor as interior minister. The ruling Servant of the People party nominated Denis Monastirskii, 41, current chairman of the parliamentary commission for law enforcement. EFE