President Zelenskyy shakes up Ukraine’s cabinet amid corruption allegations : NPR

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy greets the victims of a fatal helicopter crash during a farewell ceremony in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023.

Ephrem Lukatsky/AP

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Ephrem Lukatsky/AP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy greets the victims of a fatal helicopter crash during a farewell ceremony in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023.

Ephrem Lukatsky/AP

KYIV, Ukraine — A series of resignations, firings and reassignments rocked Ukraine’s government on Monday and Tuesday, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other government leaders confirmed the shaking up of high level positions.

Deputy Defense Minister Viacheslav Shapovalov submitted a handwritten resignation note a day after a news report accused his office of corruption. The report accused Shapovalov of using funds of the ministry to buy food and tactical winter clothes at higher rates than those of the market, claim Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov disputes.

“Despite the fact that the accusations are unfounded and baseless, the request for the resignation of Viacheslav Shapovalov follows in the tradition of European and democratic politics, showing that the interests of the defense are higher than any position of -cabinet,” Reznikov he wrote in the order confirming the resignation.

Meanwhile, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Zelenskyy’s top aide also submitted a handwritten resignation note to the president late Monday. Zelenskyy confirmed Tymoshenko’s dismissal early Tuesday in a one-line order without citing a reason.

As the war progressed, Tymoshenko formed a circle of young Zelenskyy advisers who achieved celebrity-like status in Ukraine, posting frequently on social media and making upbeat television appearances. As Russia escalated its airstrikes against Ukrainian utilities in October, Tymoshenko became the government’s chief coordinator for rebuilding infrastructure and managing civilian humanitarian efforts.

Tymoshenko’s resignation came days after another popular Zelenskyy adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, resigned from his post for spreading misinformation about who was responsible for an airstrike on an apartment building collapse that killed 46 civilians in -city of Dnipro on January 14.

During his evening address on Monday, Zelenskyy said “we have already made personnel decisions—some today, some tomorrow—regarding officials at various levels in the ministries and other bodies of the central government, in the regions , and in the law enforcement system.”

He also banned Ukrainian officials from leaving the country after social media posts showed Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko vacationing in Spain. Under Ukrainian martial law, men of military age are prohibited from leaving Ukraine without express permission. Symonenko’s superiors confirmed his dismissal on Tuesday morning.

The spate of expulsions comes as accusations of wartime misconduct have mounted in Ukraine, raising pre-war concerns about endemic corruption in the country. On Monday, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure lost his job after being arrested for bribery.

Tymofiy Mylovanov, the former economy minister of Ukraine, said that Ukraine has taken extensive steps to fight corruption. Jo tweetMylovanov said the recent corruption scandals were “episodic,” rather than “systemic,” as European officials claimed.

But Daria Kaleniuk, the head of the Anti-Corruption Action Center of Ukraine, he says Ukraine’s commitment to transparency should extend throughout the government, despite the martial law system currently in place.

“I want to thank the law enforcement officers who protect the law, the interests of the state, and ensure justice! I am grateful to the journalists who are looking at all the facts and establishing the picture full!” Zelenskyy said after the scandals started to emerge on Sunday.

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