Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is waiting for a report of Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) Artem Sytnyk and Head of the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) Nazar Kholodnytsky about investigation of top corruption cases.
“Law enforcement reform, overcoming corruption and judicial reform, and the first priority is elite corruption and organized crime. Three months ago I met with the leaders of NABU and SAPO. I would like to hear from them about the results of joint work on the prosecution of top corrupt officials,” Zelensky said at a meeting with the leadership of the Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and law enforcement officials in Kyiv on Monday.
According to the president, one of the priorities in preventing corruption is the disclosure of environmental crimes.
“Environmental crimes. I demand a report from the heads of the SBI [the State Bureau of Investigations], Security Service of Ukraine, the National Police on the fight against the amber mafia, illegal deforestation, and predatory mining of minerals that belong to all the Ukrainian people,” he said.
The United States expects a meeting of U.S. President Donald Trump with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in Warsaw, where a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II will be held on September 1, Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs John Bolton has said.
He expressed his expectations about the meeting of the two presidents in Warsaw and said they would work on its organization in the coming days.
An expert survey, titled “100 days of President Volodymyr Zelensky,” conducted from August 19 to August 26 by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation Fund was presented in Kyiv on Wednesday. Some 51 experts were included in the study. They said Zelensky’s main success in the first 100 days was the dissolution of the parliament and the further success of the Servant of the People Party in early parliamentary elections, which allowed the formation of a one-party majority.
Experts also noted the president’s foreign policy efforts: first foreign trips, establishing contacts with leaders of the EU countries, Canada, a planned meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Among the successes, Zelensky’s initiatives on the peace process in Donbas are also mentioned, along with activation of the Minsk process, efforts to conduct negotiations in the “Normandy format,” the issue of prisoner exchange.
To the president’s failures, experts attribute individual staff appointments and appointments to government posts on the basis of personal acquaintance and loyalty, rather than professionalism. The same applies to the inclusion of people with an ambiguous reputation in the Servant of the People Party list.
Experts also note foreign policy failures – in particular, the lack of efforts to counteract the return of Russia to Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the lack of initiative to tighten sanctions against Russia for not fulfilling the decision to release Ukrainian sailors and issuing passports in occupied Donbas.
Zelensky’s style of behavior during public meetings in the regions and the ineffectiveness of the ceasefire in Donbas was already regarded as a failure.
Experts believe that Zelensky’s main task is to confront Russian aggression by all diplomatic methods, including strengthening sanctions against Russia, preserving the “anti-Putin” coalition for the liberation of Donbas and Crimea, as well as Ukrainian political prisoners and captives.
For comparison, experts gave President Petro Poroshenko 6.3 points for his first 100 days, with his predecessor Viktor Yanukovych receiving 2.7 points. Yanukovych fled to Russia in early 2014.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has said that it is impossible to understand the executions of Jews, Ukrainians, Roma and other victims of Babyn Yar, to forget and forgive this crime, and its repetition cannot be allowed.
“It is impossible to understand the inhuman desire to destroy people on ethnic, national or political grounds, regardless of gender and age. Before our eyes there is a terrible endless queue of people who did not understand that they were being led to death,” he said, speaking on Monday at a ceremony of reverence to victims of Babyn Yar with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Zelensky noted that most of those killed in Babyn Yar were of Jewish nationality, but “having shot all the Jews they could find, the Nazis began to get rid of other prisoners: Roma, Ukrainians who were fighting for their state.”
“The totalitarian Soviet regime tabooed such topics as the Holocaust, Babyn Yar, the Holodomor, and hid the real scale of these crimes,” he said.
Zelensky noted that, according to various sources, during the period of the Nazi occupation from 70,000 to 200,000 people were shot in Babyn Yar.
“It is impossible to forget and forgive, and the Ukrainian people will always remember these crimes against humanity. We will never forget what xenophobia and racism lead to. The ideology of intolerance and violence deprives of the most precious and valuable thing – human life,” said the president of Ukraine.
Zelensky called on the international community to join forces to prevent manifestations of anti-Semitism and intolerance on racial or national grounds.
“We must not allow it again! Eternal memory to the victims of the Babyn Yar, eternal memory to the victims of the Second World War,” said the president of Ukraine.
There are no specific plans for a possible meeting between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, as of yet, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press on Tuesday. “There are more questions than answers. There are no plans concerning a possible meeting with President Zelensky as of yet,” Peskov said.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hold an official meeting in Kyiv on August 19 and sign Ukrainian-Israeli documents, the press service of the head of Ukrainian state has reported. The meeting at the Mariyinsky Palace will begin at 10:30, after which a document signing ceremony will take place at 12:45.
Statements by Zelensky and Netanyahu for the media are scheduled at 13:00.
In addition, at 15:20, the president of Ukraine and the premier of Israel will take part in events to pay tribute to the victims of the Babyn Yar tragedy.