Zelensky shakes up Ukrainian government amid growing corruption scandal

Kyiv, Ukraine

Plenty of senior Ukrainian officers have resigned or been fired by President Volodymyr Zelensky amid a rising corruption scandal linked to the procurement of war-time provides, within the greatest shakeup of the federal government since Russia’s invasion started.

Throughout his nightly tackle on Monday night, Zelensky introduced he was banning authorities officers from touring overseas on something however official enterprise, and mentioned he can be making “personnel adjustments” within the coming days.

The announcement got here after the arrest on Sunday of Vasyl Lozynskyy, the appearing minister for regional improvement. The Nationwide Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine has accused Lozynskyy of receiving $400,000 in “illegal advantages” for facilitating contracts, together with for energy mills – a delicate subject in a rustic that’s struggling to deal with freezing temperatures and frequent energy cuts attributable to the Russia’s assaults on its infrastructure.

Lozynsky has not commented on the accusations.

The Nationwide Anti-Corruption Bureau additionally mentioned it was investigating “high-profile media reviews” into allegations that Ukraine’s protection ministry was shopping for army provisions, together with meals for the troops, at inflated costs.

The total extent of Zelensky’s shakeup started to emerge on Tuesday.

Zelensky’s deputy chief of employees Kyrylo Tymoshenko introduced his resignation on his Telegram account on Tuesday morning after Ukrainian media reported he was utilizing a car meant for humanitarian functions and evacuations to go on enterprise journeys – allegations CNN isn’t capable of confirm.

With out giving any purpose for his determination, Tymoshenko shared a photograph of his resignation letter, dated Monday, and mentioned “I want to ask you to dismiss me from the submit of Deputy Head of the Workplace of the President of Ukraine at my very own request.”

In a press release addressing the allegations, Tymoshenko mentioned the automotive – a Chevrolet Tahoe – was used for official functions and that he had by no means hidden the truth that he was utilizing it.

“In latest months, I’ve pushed this automotive about 40,000 kilometers on enterprise journeys all through Ukraine. I cannot use this automotive sooner or later,” he mentioned, including that the car can be transferred to “one of many frontline areas, the place will probably be used for humanitarian functions” within the coming days.

Inside hours of Tymoschenko’s announcement, many extra adopted his footsteps.

Ukraine’s deputy protection minister Viacheslav Shapovalov, deputy prosecutor normal Oleksii Symonenko, deputy ministers of regional improvement Ivan Lukerya and Viacheslav Nehoda and the deputy minister of social coverage Vitalii Muzychenko had been all requested to resign or have give up as had been a number of regional officers.

An announcement posted on the protection ministry’s web site mentioned that Shapovalov, who was “answerable for the logistics of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” had submitted his resignation after a “marketing campaign of accusations” which the ministry mentioned was “unfounded and baseless.”

The ministry posted Shapovalov’s resignation letter on-line. “Because of the giant public outcry, which was largely provoked by unsubstantiated manipulations across the subject of supplying the Armed Forces of Ukraine, there are dangers of destabilizing the military provide processes,” the letter mentioned.

“That is unacceptable in the course of the warfare with Russia. On this state of affairs, the precedence is to make sure the secure work of the Ministry of Protection of Ukraine and to create situations for clear, unbiased inspections by legislation enforcement and different licensed our bodies.”

Lukerya mentioned on Tuesday that he made the choice to depart his submit earlier this yr, “however sadly, because of political and bureaucratic circumstances, the authorized formalization coincided with this week.”

In accordance with a 2021 report by Transparency Worldwide, Ukraine is the second most corrupt nation in Europe after Russia. Globally, it ranked 122nd of 180 international locations.

Zelensky’s promise to rid the federal government of corruption was one of many causes behind his speedy ascent into energy in 2019.

A former comic who performed Ukraine’s president on a success TV present, Zelensky had zero political expertise on the time of his election – however managed to faucet into the nation’s deep-rooted disappointment and disgust over rampant corruption.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak mentioned on Twitter on Tuesday that the adjustments inside the authorities confirmed Zelensky was dedicated to combating corruption.

“Zelensky’s personnel selections testify to the important thing priorities of the state… No ‘blind eyes’,” he wrote. “Throughout the warfare, everybody ought to perceive their duty. The President sees and hears society. And he straight responds to a key public demand – justice for all.”

However Transparency Worldwide mentioned a variety of work stays to be carried out. Whereas praising among the steps Zelensky’s authorities has taken in recent times, it mentioned final yr that Ukraine’s struggle towards corruption has stalled and was caught in “impasse”.