G7 countries 'alarmed' by Ukraine rolling back anti-corruption reforms

Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets
·2-min read

By Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets

KYIV (Reuters) - The Group of Seven (G7) of the world's biggest economies on Thursday said it was alarmed by the rollback of reforms in Ukraine as the Constitutional Court this week ruled to abolish some anti-corruption laws.

The court said it saw as excessive the punishment set for false information on officials' asset declarations and struck down some critical powers of the key anti-graft body NAZK, which in turn said the court had destroyed the anti-corruption system.

Ukraine's patchy performance on reforms and tackling entrenched corruption has derailed a $5 billion programme agreed in June with the International Monetary Fund at a time its economy is in sharp downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A further deterioration could threaten Ukraine's prized visa-free access to the European Union countries, a member of the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee has warned..

The United States, Canada, Britain and the European Union have backed Ukraine with aid and sanctions on Russia after the 2014 Maidan street protests that ousted a Kremlin-backed leader, but repeatedly pressed Kyiv to quicken the pace of reforms.

"The G7 ambassadors are alarmed by efforts to undo the anti-corruption reforms that followed the Revolution of Dignity," said a statement. "Too much progress has been made, Ukraine must not go back to the past."

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy earlier on Thursday called an urgent meeting of the National Security Council.

"Recently there have been signs that certain entities are trying to revise key parts of the social contract in Ukraine, which provide for zero tolerance for corruption and any form of opacity in public administration," the presidential office said in a statement.

"It is unacceptable."

(Writing by Pavel Polityuk and Matthias Williams; editing by Clarence Fernandez and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)