The announcement of the resignation of the Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, Yakiv Smolii, against the backdrop of alleged political pressure "sends a worrying signal", reads a statement by Peter Stano, EU's Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

"The Bank must maintain its ability to fulfill its role independently," the spokesperson stressed. "Undermining this important institution jeopardises the credibility of and support for Ukraine's reform agenda."

Establishing a strong and independent National Bank has been a fundamental achievement for Ukraine, and remains crucial to the country's future success, Stano said.

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"Over the past years, the National Bank of Ukraine has taken bold and much needed steps to ensure Ukraine's macro-financial stability and facilitate a sustainable economic recovery." The NBU's policies "have served the Ukrainian economy and Ukrainian people well, by stabilising the national currency, reducing inflation and increasing foreign reserves, restructuring the entire banking sector and recovering assets lost in cases of bank fraud".

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Noting Ukraine's "challenging" path to reform, in particular in the current exceptional circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union says it "will continue to support Ukraine in the implementation of much needed reforms, and counts on the Ukrainian authorities to maintain their level of commitment."