Avakov says smear being prepared to discredit him as minister
Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov says he has been informed that a smear campaign is being prepared to discredit him and his ministry.
"Sources told me a few hours ago that certain structures have been preparing a series of provocations against me as interior minister and against the ministry. This is being done to discredit and whittle down police's efforts aimed at ensuring fair elections in Ukraine," Avakov wrote on Facebook on February 22.
He disclosed details of the possible provocation: "a lot money in foreign currency would arrive at my bank accounts in Ukraine or Italy from unknown sources — allegedly as payment for services provided by the Interior Ministry to cover up rigging [elections] and bribing voters in favor of a certain candidate."
"To make the picture complete, the money might be of Russian origin," he added.
"When such a smear is masterminded by an aggressor country – this is understandable. But when such intrigues are being prepared against you in your own country – this is not easy to apprehend. But I expected something like this could happen. And tried to be ready for this. And I am ready," Avakov said.
The minister assured he was not going to "make compromises and will not conclude secret deals with any presidential candidate."
"There should be no legitimization for violators of the electoral legislation. This is a principle," he said.
Avakov also shared statistics related to violations of election regulations.
On the 54th day of the election campaign, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Police received 1,741 reports on such violations.
"Law enforcers have responded to all of them: 77 criminal proceedings, 401 administrative records. The statistics on the forces involved are the following: 420 reports on the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, 337, on the Batkivshchyna Party, 159 on Samopomich, 124 on Civil Position, 117 on the Radical Party," the minister wrote.
"I'm calling on everyone to be clear-headed, professional and apolitical! Avoid Facebook hype! The elections will end, and we all need to think about the country," he said.
However, "threats and blackmail will not be tolerated," he added.