Zelensky: My political will alone is not enough for punishing Svynarchuk-type businessmen, other corrupt officials
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said his political will alone will not be enough to deal with corruption scandals in the defense sector. He said the will of law-enforcement agencies will also be necessary.
"One and a half months have passed already. And I now understand one thing – my personal political will is not enough, because there is not enough political will of our law-enforcement agencies. Maybe some of them have it, but they always lack something. And when someone is missing something, then we will do everything to make sure the country doesn't miss them," Zelensky said in a video interview, named "Frankly with the President," aired by several Ukrainian TV stations on Wednesday.
Zelensky gave as an example the situation when one top law-enforcement official said that "he does not know where the Svynarchuks [reference to ex-First Deputy Secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleh Hladkovsky (formerly Oleh Svynarchuk) and his son Ihor involved in a corruption scandal] are, and maybe they are hiding abroad."
"But we know and you see that a person who robbed the country and made money on the army calmly drives his luxury car, heading to the 5th Element sports club of [ex-President Petro] Poroshenko, and relaxes there as if everything is normal. That's what's going on today," Zelensky said.
The president said that from the first day after taking office he gathered all law-enforcement chiefs together and proposed that they deal with the most notorious cases.
"Let's get to the bottom of the cases involving Maidan [events during the Revolution of Dignity on Kyiv's Independence Square, or Maidan Nezalezhnosti], with journalists who are being harassed, with dead activists like [murdered Kherson activist Kateryna] Handziuk. What is happening? Where are the Svynarchuks? How can we get them? And then the most important thing happened: the Special Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) says the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) is to blame, NABU says that SAPO is to blame, and the prosecutor said had there been the political will, they all would have been jailed," Zelensky said.
According to the president, the new team in power has the political will necessary to normally and safely live in Ukraine, in order to arrest 'all those thieves, who were despicably earning money from all these [criminal] cases."
Zelensky said some progress has already been made in the battle against corruption, but he said more serious work would have to wait until early elections to parliament are held on July 21 and a new government is formed.
"We have served [Ukraine's Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Ihor] Nasalyk with a notice of suspicion and Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) has made searches at the Defense Ministry and will start investigating cases… But I am afraid of one thing. When a case goes to court, they will tell us that we have nothing to do, that the judge will decide. Therefore, I am waiting for the moment when we have a new parliament. We will have a new parliament and a new government will appear made up of normal people. We already have some of these people, but we will need to pick some more," the president said.