Sun, 23 Feb 2020

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said he does not accept the resignation of Prime Minister Oleksei Honcharuk, which was submitted earlier on January 17.

'I received your resignation notice today,' Zelenskiy said during a meeting with Honcharuk. 'You know I made up my mind to give a chance both to you and your government.'

Honcharuk submitted his resignation amid a scandal surrounding an audio recording in which he allegedly disparages the economic knowledge and competence of both himself and Zelenskiy.

In a Facebook post on January 17, Honcharuk wrote that 'in recent days, you have all witnessed ongoing events around files leaked to social networks that had been mounted from fragments of records from the government's meetings.'

Zelenskiy's office acknowledged receiving Honcharuk's resignation letter, but said it will comment later on how it will react to the situation.

'In order to prevent any doubts about our respect and trust to the president, I have submitted my resignation to the president with the right to bring the issue to the parliament,' Honcharuk wrote.

'[The files'] contents artificially create the idea that I and my team do not respect the president, who is our political leader,' Honcharuk added, saying that he and his cabinet respect Zelenskiy as the leader of Ukraine.

The veracity of the audio recording remains unclear. On the clip, a voice that sounds like Honcharuk's says that Zelenskiy and he are "incompetent in economic matters."

Honcharuk has said audio is a compilation of "fragments of recorded government meetings."

Honcharuk posted a video statement on Facebook accusing unnamed individuals of leaking the audio, calling them 'people, who would want us to fail.' In the video, he vowed to continue what he called 'our fight against corruption.'

'I address those who are fighting against us: you will never frighten us! We will eradicate corruption even with more vigor,' Honcharuk said, adding that 'the massive attacks on social networks and media against our team prove that we are on the right path.'

He did not elaborate.

A 35-year-old former lawyer and a political newcomer, Honcharuk was named prime minister in August.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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