Nothing to See Here: Ukrainian Minister Arrested Over Multi-Million Dollar Scheme

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(Luis Cornelio, Headline USA) A high-level minister of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government has been arrested over his alleged role in a multi-million-dollar scheme to seize government-owned land. 

Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi, responsible for overseeing Ukraine’s expansive agricultural sector, submitted his resignation on Thursday following the damning accusations leveled against him by prosecutors earlier in the week — according to Politico’s European edition.

According to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, Solskyi allegedly led a scheme involving the illegal acquisition of state-owned land valued at $7,331,093 (291 million hryvnias), with additional attempts to seize an additional $4,786,624 (190 million hryvnias) worth of land.

The alleged illegal plot involved illegal payments to local government officials in exchange for the transfer of government-owned land deeds to private entities and individuals. The land in question was never legitimately up for sale. 

Prosecutors assert that these illicit activities occurred between 2017 and 2021 before Solskyi was tapped to head the agriculture ministry, but during his election to the Parliament. 

Solskyi submitted his resignation to the head of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, responsible for the oversight of cabinet ministries.  

Ukraine operates under a semi-presidential system, with Zelenskyy serving as head of state and cabinet appointments made by the Verkhovna Rada.

“The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine received a statement from Mykola Solsky about his resignation from the post of Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine,” stated Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of the Parliament, in a translated Facebook post. 

He added that “the application will be considered at one of the nearest plenary meetings.”

Despite the charges, Solskyi was released on $1,907,091 bail (75.7 million hryvnas) by the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine, the legal entity presiding over the case. 

According to Politico, Solskyi intends to maintain his role as agriculture minister. He was elected to Parliament in 2019 before being appointed minister in March 2022. 

This scandal unfolds against the backdrop of opposition from America First Republicans to Democrat-led multi-billion-dollar funding for Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression. Among the concerns cited by Republicans are Ukraine’s widespread corruption issues.

Headline USA contacted Zelenskyy’s press office seeking comments on whether he intends to urge the agriculture minister’s resignation. Neither the Ukrainian government’s press office nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately replied to Headline USA’s emails.

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