Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he has not interfered in the work of state anticorruption agencies, comments that come amid mounting domestic and foreign pressure over Kyiv’s commitment to combating graft.
Poroshenko's remarks to reporters on December 8 following a meeting with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite come in the wake of accusations by critics this week that the government is trying to torpedo anticorruption efforts.
"Over more than 2.5 years of the activity of anticorruption bodies, everyone, including the leadership of these bodies, stated that there had never been an interference in the activities of these bodies on the part of the president," Poroshenko said in Vilnius, according to a transcript posted on his website.
He was speaking a day after activists and reformist lawmakers managed to derail parliamentary consideration of a bill -- authored by lawmakers from Poroshenko's party and that of former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk -- that would see the head of Ukraine's National Anticorruption Bureau (NABU) removed.
The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and United States this week voiced concerned about Ukraine's willingness to tackle graft.
Poroshenko said in Vilnius on December 8 that he would "not allow any threats of political interference in the activities of anticorruption institutions."