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Ukrainian Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Resigns

Nazar Kholodnytskiy had headed the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office since 2015. (file photo)

KYIV -- The head of Ukraine's Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office says he has resigned after five years in the post.

Nazar Kholodnytskiy made the announcement in a Facebook post on August 21, saying he had quit of his own free will.

"Today I can say with confidence that the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine will fulfill their mission," Kholodnytskiy wrote.

“I thank my team for their dedication, honesty and integrity -- we do our job with dignity."

He also said that his office has "systematically faced political attempts to encroach on our independence and manipulate the results of our work."

Kholodnytskiy posted a copy of Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova's August 21 order to dismiss him "in connection with the application for voluntary dismissal."

Kholodnytskiy, the first head of anti-corruption investigations at the prosecution service in Ukraine, has been embroiled in a scandal over allegations that he helped officials suspected of corruption evade prosecution.

In July 2018, Ukraine's Qualification and Disciplinary Commission of Prosecutors (KDPK) rejected a request by the Prosecutor-General's Office to fire Kholodnytskiy and ruled to reprimand him.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who was elected last year, has vowed to root out entrenched corruption that has plagued Ukraine for decades.

In June, Ukrainian officials said they were offered $6 million in bribes to end a criminal investigation into the head of a gas company where the son of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden served on the board.

Kholodnytskiy, however, said that neither of the Bidens was connected to the alleged bribe attempt.

The Burisma natural gas company was at the center of a scandal leading to U.S. President Donald Trump's impeachment trial earlier this year.