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Ukraine reconstruction official quits citing ‘systemic obstacles’

In News, World
June 10, 2024

Mustafa Nayyem announces resignation a day before an international conference focused on rebuilding Ukraine.

A senior Ukrainian reconstruction official has resigned, citing budget cuts and bureaucratic delays, as Kyiv seeks crucial international investment to rebuild after Russia’s invasion.

Mustafa Nayyem, head of the State Agency for Restoration and Infrastructure Development, announced his resignation a day before an international conference in Berlin dedicated to mobilising international support for Ukraine’s reconstruction.

“I made the decision on my own due to systemic obstacles that do not allow me to continue to effectively exercise my powers,” Nayyem said on the Telegram messaging application on Monday.

“Starting from November last year, the Agency’s team began to face constant opposition, resistance and the creation of artificial obstacles,” he said, adding that there were also delays in payment for defence fortifications.

The prominent former lawmaker also criticised a government decision to prevent him from travelling to the event in Berlin and the dismissal last month of the deputy prime minister for infrastructure, another critical wartime official.

Oleksandr Kubrakov said his dismissal was not discussed with him in advance and he did not get a chance to defend his tenure in a presentation to parliament.

Both Kubrakov and Nayyem, who was appointed in January 2023, had helped anticorruption authorities uncover suspected graft during sting operations last year.

“I do not exclude that in time there will be attempts to persecute and discredit our work in the public domain,” Nayyem wrote.

“In fact, this has already been happening for a long time,” Nayyem said, adding that his team “did not always fit in” to the current government and its style of management.

In his resignation announcement, the 42-year-old hailed his agency’s work on restoring roads and bridges in recaptured areas, building a water pipeline after the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam in June last year and protecting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure against Russian air strikes.

Nayyem became well known in Ukraine in 2013 when he called for rallies against the decision by Ukraine’s then-president to stall integration talks with the European Union.

The protests eventually led to the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych and precipitated hostilities with Kremlin-backed separatists in the east that simmered until Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

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