Ukraine's Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Solskyi Mykola is suspected of curruption. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET


Ukrainian agriculture minister arrested on corruption charges


Mykola Solskyi, the agriculture minister in the Ukrainian Government, has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in an alleged illegal land-acquisition transaction worth €6.5 million.

On April 25, the Ukrainian High Anti-Corruption Court issued a detention order for him to be held in custody until June 24.

His bail was set at 75.7 million hryvnias or €1.78 million.

Solskyi resigned earlier this week from his post after the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) charged him with corruption.

Then, on April 26, the Ukrainian  Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food said Solskyi had been released from custody and would continue to serve as agrarian policy minister.

The Ukrainian Parliament will ultimately decide on his political fate at its next plenary session.

Solskyi is now not allowed to leave Kyiv or communicate with witnesses in the case. He must deposit his passport and other documents with the authorities and wear an electronic tag. The minister was also forbidden to talk to his deputy.

NABU alleged Solskyi was part of a “criminal group” that fraudulently took over about 2,500 hectares of State-owned land worth €6.5 million.

He is also suspected of transferring another patch of public land, worth 190 million hryvnias or €4.5 million, to unnamed private individuals.

Solskyi maintained he was innocent of any wrongdoing.

The alleged corruption is said to have taken place between 2017 and 2021, before the war with Russia, when Solskyi was a lawyer.

He claimed that the situation seven years ago regarded a land dispute between soldiers and State-owned enterprises.

Prior to being named a minister in 2022, Solski chaired the Committee on Agrarian and Land Policy of the Ukrainian Parliament from 2019 to 2021.

He is the first minister in President Volodimir Zelenski’s Government to be prosecuted by the judiciary for alleged corruption.

In September last year, Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksii Reznikov was removed from his post amid pressure over multiple corruption accusations.

In August 2023, Zelenskyy fired all regional military recruitment directors after one officer, Yevhen Borisov, was discovered to have up to $5 million in assets stashed in his mother’s name in Spain.

Ukraine has been dogged by corruption issues, and the fight against such wrongdoing was central to Zelenskyy’s election victory.

The 2022 Russian invasion has pushed Ukraine closer to the West and intensified the country’ fight against corruption, helped by increased scrutiny from the West, which wants to ensure its aid for Kyiv is not misused.