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Ukrainian PM Vows To Resign If Corruption Court Not Created

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman (file photo)
Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman (file photo)

KYIV -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman has promised to step down if an anticorruption court is not established in the country.

Hroysman told reporters on June 4 that he will discuss the issue with lawmakers to secure approval of the bill on creation of an anticorruption court in its second reading on June 7.

"As Ukraine's prime minister I have made a decision: If such a just and independent [anticorruption] court is not formed, I will step down from the post of the prime minister of Ukraine, I will resign," Hroysman said. He made similar remarks on Twitter.

Parliament speaker Andriy Parubiy, who was also present at the briefing, said that that he was "confident that the vote will take place."

The bill to create an anticorruption court was approved in its first reading on March 1, and President Petro Poroshenko said it should win final approval before spring ends.

The legislation has been demanded by protest groups and international institutions that provide Ukraine with financial support.

In March, European Union foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini told Poroshenko in Kyiv that establishing an independent anticorruption court would "help the business environment and the investment climate."

However, some reformists in Ukraine and backers in Europe have said the bill in its current form does not meet standards set by the Council of Europe's Venice Commission, a group of independent experts in constitutional law, and the requirements of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Critics have charged that it would not ensure the selection of independent anticorruption judges.

The IMF has called the establishment of an anticorruption court a "benchmark" of Ukraine's progress toward Western legal standards, and has said it would help ease the release of its loans in the future.

Western officials say Ukraine will be far better equipped to resist interference from Russia -- which seized the Crimea region in 2014 and backs separatist militants who hold parts of two eastern provinces -- if it takes serious steps to combat corruption.

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