American, Georgian & Lithuanian get key jobs in Ukraine’s new govt

Ukrainian Prime Minsiter Arseny Yatsenyuk (third right) in the government box at a session of Verkhovna Rada in Kiev (RIA Novosti / Nikolay Lazarenko)
The natives of the US, Georgia and Lithuania were hastily granted Ukrainian citizenship in order to become key ministers in the new government of Ukraine, which was approved by the country’s parliament on Tuesday.

President Poroshenko has also announced he will sign a decree to grant citizenship to foreigners fighting on Kiev’s side in the east of the country.

Natalie Jaresko of the US, who currently heads the Kiev-based Horizon Capital investment fund, will take reigns at the Ukrainian Finance Ministry.

In 1992-1995, Jaresko served as the first Chief of the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Ukraine.

Before that she occupied several economic positions in the US State Department, according to Horizon Capital website.

The position of health minister went to Aleksandr Kvitashvili, who occupied a similar post in the Georgian government in 2009-2012.

"Ukraine spends 8 per cent of its GDP on healthcare, but half of this money is being plundered. Aleksandr Kvitashvili must implement radical reforms as he has no ties with the Ukrainian pharmaceutical mafia,” Ukrainian PM, Arseny Yatsenuk, said as he presented the new minister to the deputies.

Alexander Kvitashvili, a candidate for head of the Ukrainian health ministry, at a session of Verkhovna Rada in Kiev (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Polinchak)

Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavicius has been approved as the economy minister by the new parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

Abromavicius, who is a partner at the $3.6 billion-worth East Capital asset management group, conducts his operations from Kiev after marrying a Ukrainian.

“There’s hard work ahead of us because Ukraine is a very poor and corrupt country and we’ll have to use radical measures,” he told MPs from the Rada tribune.

288 out of 450 deputies supported the cabinet proposed by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, with the new ministers sworn in right after the vote.

“I congratulate the Ukrainians with the formation of the pro-European government,” Poroshenko wrote on his Twitter page.

He told the Rada that he views the foreigners as some kind of anti-crisis management need due to the difficult situation in economy, the fighting in Donbas, the necessity of radical reforms and large-scale corruption.

Earlier on the Tuesday, the president has signed special a decree granting Ukrainian citizenship to Jaresko, Kvitashvili and Abromavicius.

Aivars Abramovicus (Aivaras Abromavicius), a candidate for head of the Ukrainian economy ministry, at a session of Verkhovna Rada in Kiev (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Polinchak)

Dual nationality is forbidden in Ukraine and the trio has already written applications to give up the citizenship of foreign states, Yury Lutsenko, the head of the Petro Poroshenko Block (PPB), said.

Poroshenko said that there’ll be even more foreigners on administrative positions in Ukraine as the county “must attract the best international experience, which includes assigning positions in the government to representative of states friendly to Ukraine.”

Also on Tuesday, the MPs from Poroshenko’s ruling bloc have registered a draft law in the Rada on amending the Ukrainian legislation for it to allow citizens of other states in the government.

It had been announced by Poroshenko a week ago. This move has been dubbed “unprecedented” and attracted criticism from experts with some calling it “allegiance to the so-called European choice,” and others expressing concern that it can be a sign of Ukraine losing its sovereignty.

READ MORE: Poroshenko aims to change laws to allow foreigners into Ukrainian govt

Poroshenko also promised to grant the citizenship of Ukraine to all foreigners fighting for Kiev against the militias in the country’s eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

“I’m going to sign a decree conferring Ukrainian citizenship to those, who defended Ukraine with arms in their hands,” he wrote on Twitter.

However, not everybody in the parliament supported the inclusion of foreigners into the Ukrainian government.

Earlier, the MP from the Opposition Block said Aleksandr Vilkul suggested that by inviting people from abroad the Ukrainian authorities are trying to absolve themselves of responsibility for the state of things in the country.

Vilkul colleague, Yury Boyko, said he can’t understand how it wasn’t possible to find 10 candidates for the cabinet among Ukraine’s 40-million population.