Two top Ukrainian officials arrested during televised cabinet meeting | News | DW | 25.03.2015
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Two top Ukrainian officials arrested during televised cabinet meeting

Two senior Ukrainian officials have been arrested on charges of corruption. The men were taken away by police during a televised cabinet meeting.

The men, head of Ukrainian state emergency services, Sergiy Bochkovsky, and his deputy, Vasyl Stoyetsky, were detained on Wednesday.

They were led away by police in handcuffs on suspicion of "high-level" corruption in front of a televised government meeting.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned those engaged in illegal activities to watch out.

"When the country is at war and when we are counting every penny, they steal from people and the state," he said.

"This will happen to everyone who breaks the law and sneers at the Ukrainian state."

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said the pair were suspected of redirecting funds to an offshore location.

He later told reporters Bochkovsky and Stoyetsky were deliberately arrested at such a public event as a "preventive vaccination against all those corrupt people who sadly number many among us in power."

Prime Minister Yatsenyuk wants to prove his government is serious about cracking down on corruption, and introducing widespread reforms.

Ukraine has received around $40 billion (36 billion euros) worth of aid from Western donors to help its economy come back from the brink of bankruptcy.

It is also currently engaged in a conflict with Russian-backed separatist rebels in the country's east.

Yatsenyuk announced the investigations had been launched into other high-ranking state officials, and that action had already been taken against some members of the tax police, customs, the rail service and other state companies.

The arrests happened just hours after Ukraine's president, Petro Poroshenko, revealed oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskiy had been dismissed as regional governor of the region of Dnipropetrovsk.

It followed a dispute over control of the state's main oil and gas company.

an/ (AFP, Reuters)

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