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Infrastructure Development head Nayyem resigns after being blocked from attending German reconstruction conference

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Mustafa Nayyem, the head of Ukraine’s agency for Restoration and Infrastructure Development, has resigned, Nayyem wrote on Facebook on June 10. The NV media outlet, citing sources, said that two other heads of the agency are also reportedly resigning along with Nayyem.

The news follows reporting by Bloomberg the previous day, which wrote that Nayyem had said he was prevented from attending the upcoming Ukraine Recovery Conference scheduled for June 11-12 in Berlin.

Nayyem told Bloomberg in an email that Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal “personally rejected my request for this business trip to Berlin without giving reasons.”

Beyond reporting on the resignation of the three officials, NV also shared what appeared to be a document from Shmyhal rejecting Nayyem’s travel request.

The news comes in the wake of the dismissal of Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov in May. The government has since appointed Vasyl Shkurakov as acting infrastructure minister, but an official replacement for Kubrakov has yet to be announced.

In a lengthy post on Facebook, Nayyem named a series of complaints about the “systemic obstacles” that have limited his ability to do his job, ultimately leading to his decision to resign.

Among his many grievances, Nayyem said that the budget for road reconstruction had been “completely canceled,” the agency had been forced to deal with endless bureaucracy and red tape, and the salaries for agency officials were slashed, resulting in a 25% staff reduction.

Despite the setbacks, Nayyem said he was proud of what the agency had been able to accomplish, but said that the combined impact of Kubrakov’s dismissal and his inability to attend the recovery conference made the continuation of his work “impossible.”

A native of Afghanistan who moved to Ukraine as a child, Nayyem previously served as a member of Ukraine’s parliament from 2014 to 2019. He was appointed as the head of the Restoration and Infrastructure Development in January 2023.

Nayyem has also been credited for being one of the first activists to call for people to demonstrate in Kyiv in November 2013 at the beginning of the protest movement that culminated in the Euromaidan revolution.

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