Ukraine’s interior minister Arsen Avakov announces resignation

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov speaks during a news conference about the investigation of the killing of a journalist Pavel Sheremet in 2016, in Kiev, Ukraine.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has submitted a letter of resignation, his ministry said on Tuesday, without disclosing the reason for the move.

Avakov had run the ministry since 2014 but he and Zelenskiy had been at odds in recent weeks over the investigation into the killing of an investigative journalist in a car bombing in central Kyiv 2016.

Zelenskiy had said at a news conference in May he would talk to Avakov about whether he could remain in his post if a court decided that the suspects, veterans of the war with separatists in eastern Ukraine, were innocent.

In June, courts released two of the suspects from detention and placed them under house arrest pending their trial.

The court hearings have attracted protests, with activists saying the suspects were not involved in killing Pavel Sheremet. Protesters also demanded his resignation last June over allegations of police brutality.

Iryna Vereshchuk, deputy head of parliament’s committee on security issues and a member of Zelenskiy’s party, suggested the president had urged Avakov to step down.

“I think that they had an agreement that if the president asks him to write a letter of resignation, then Mr. Avakov will do it regardless of whether he wants it or not,” Vereshchuk told reporters.

His resignation needs to be accepted by the parliament to take effect. Zelenskiy’s party has a majority.

Lawmaker Oleksandr Kachura said on Telegram that a member of the party, Denys Monastyrskiy, had been nominated to succeed Avakov.

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