February 1, 2023

Zelensky shakes up Ukrainian government amid growing corruption scandal

4 min read

Kyiv, Ukraine

A large number of Senior Ukrainian officials have resigned or been dismissed by the President. Vladimir Zelensky Amid a growing corruption scandal linked to the procurement of wartime goods, after the biggest change of government. Attack of Russia It started

During his nightly address on Monday evening, Zielinski announced that he was banning government officials from traveling abroad on anything other than official business, and said that in the coming days there would be “staff changes.” “Will do.

The announcement came after the arrest of Acting Regional Development Minister Vasyl Luzinski on Sunday. Ukraine’s national anti-corruption bureau has accused Luzhinsky of receiving $400,000 in “illegal benefits” to facilitate contracts, including for power producers – a sensitive issue in a country that has been frozen by Russia. struggling to cope with frequent heat and power cuts. Attacks on its infrastructure.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau also said it was investigating “high-profile media reports” alleging that Ukraine’s Defense Ministry was buying military supplies, including food for troops, at exorbitant prices.

Luzinsky’s lawyer Oleksandr Tannakin said Luzinsky was fired from his position before he was informed of the allegations. “No funds, except the amounts indicated by [National Anti-Corruption Bureau]were found and seized by Mr. Luzinski,” he said in a statement posted on Facebook Monday. Tannakin then accused the bureau of “deliberately using manipulative tactics to inform the public. were made to artificially represent and cast a negative image of Lozynski’s guilt.”

The full extent of Zelinski’s shakeup began to unfold on Tuesday.

Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff, Kyrillo Tymoshenko, announced his resignation on his Telegram account on Tuesday morning after Ukrainian media reported that he was using a vehicle for humanitarian purposes and evacuations to go on business trips. CNN has not been able to confirm these allegations.

Without giving a reason for his decision, Tymoshenko shared a photo of his resignation letter on Monday, saying, “I would like to tell you that I have my own request from the post of Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine. Dismiss.”

In a statement dismissing the allegations, Tymoshenko said the car – a Chevrolet Tahoe – was used for official purposes and that he had never concealed the fact that he was using it.

“In recent months, I have driven this car about 40,000 kilometers on business trips all over Ukraine. I will not use this car in the future,” he said, adding that the car will be “repaired” in the coming days. It will be moved to one of the frontline areas, where it will be used for humanitarian purposes.

Within hours of Tymoshenko’s announcement, many followed in his footsteps.

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov, Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Simonenko, Regional Development Deputy Ministers Ivan Lokeria and Vyacheslav Nekhuda, and Social Policy Deputy Minister Vitaly Mozychenko were all asked to resign or resign, as were several regional officials. were

A statement posted on the Defense Ministry’s website said Shapovalov, who was “responsible for the logistics of the Armed Forces of Ukraine”, had tendered his resignation following a “campaign of accusations”, which the ministry said “baseless and baseless,” he said.

The ministry posted Shapovalov’s resignation letter online. “Due to massive public outcry, fueled by widespread unconfirmed manipulations of supplies to the armed forces of Ukraine, there are risks of destabilizing the supply process for the military,” the letter said. ”

“This is unacceptable during a war with Russia. In this situation, the priority is to ensure the stable work of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and create conditions for transparent, impartial inspections by law enforcement agencies and other competent bodies. to do.”

Lokaria said on Tuesday that he had decided to step down earlier this year, “but unfortunately, due to the political and bureaucratic circumstances, the legalization took place this week.”

According to Transparency International’s 2021 report, Ukraine is the second most corrupt country in Europe after Russia. Globally, it ranks 122 out of 180 countries.

Zelenskiy’s promise to rid the government of corruption was one of the reasons for his rapid rise to power in 2019.

A former comedian who played Ukraine’s president on a hit TV show, Zelenskiy had no political experience at the time of his election – but managed to tap into the country’s deep frustration and disgust with corruption.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak said on Twitter on Tuesday that the changes within the government show that Zelenskiy is committed to fighting corruption.

“Decisions by Zelenskiy’s staff testify to the state’s top priorities…no ‘blind spots,'” he wrote. Everyone should understand their responsibility during the war. Presidents watch and listen to society. And he directly responds to an important public demand – justice for all.

But Transparency International said there was still much work to be done. While praising some of the steps taken by Zelenskyi’s government in recent years, he said last year that Ukraine’s fight against corruption had stalled and was stuck in a “stalemate”.

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