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US warns of ‘growing concern’ over Ukraine court ruling on anti-corruption laws

Ukraine's Constitutional Court (Адміністрація Президента України/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv says the European Union, the United States, and several other nations are following with “growing concern” the developments surrounding the Ukrainian Constitutional Court’s recent ruling to abolish some anti-corruption laws.

“We urge all parties to come together in dialogue, rise to the challenge and find a solution to the crisis. This is needed to restore people’s faith that the state is able both to fight corruption and continue Ukraine’s constitutionally enshrined European and Euro-Atlantic course,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement posted on Facebook on November 2.

In its October 27 ruling, the Constitutional Court struck down some anti-corruption legislation and curbed the powers of the National Anti-Corruption Agency (NAZK), sparking tensions between President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the opposition, and Constitutional Court members.

Zelenskiy has asked parliament to dissolve the Constitutional Court and restore the anti-corruption laws in question, saying the court’s move could jeopardize vital international economic aid.

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But the outcome of the vote in parliament is uncertain.

It is not clear how many lawmakers from Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People party will support the bill, and opposition parties have said they will vote against the proposed legislation.

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has described Zelenskiy’s moves as a coup aimed at concentrating more power in his hands, while the head of the Constitutional Court, Oleksandr Tupytskiy, accused the president of willing to create an “obedient” court.

Zelenskiy on November 2 warned that the country could slide into chaos if parliament does not reinstate anti-corruption reforms.

Ukrainians would not tolerate backsliding on reforms to fight corruption, the president said in an audio address to members of the ruling Servant of the People parliamentary faction.

Kyiv’s slow progress on reforms and anti-corruption efforts has become an obstacle to implementing a $5 billion program agreed in June with the International Monetary Fund.

The European Union’s delegation to Kyiv has warned that its financial assistance was tied to Ukraine’s performance on corruption.