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Ukraine officials leave posts after corruption allegations

January 24, 2023

Ukraine's deputy defense minister, responsible for supplies to troops, has resigned citing "media accusations" of corruption. Other government figures have also quit or been fired.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, chairs a meeting with government officials
Zelenskyy has promised that Russia's invasion will not stop his government from rooting out corruptionImage: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/Planet Pix/ZUMA /picture alliance

A deputy defense minister and the deputy head of Ukraine's presidential office both offered their resignations on Tuesday amid allegations of corruption.

The high-level departures came soon after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced changes to personnel at the highest level after the highest-profile allegations of graft since Russia launched its invasion.

Who's resigned, and why?

The defense ministry carried a statement saying Vyacheslav Shapovalov's resignation was "a worthy deed" that would help retain trust in the ministry. Local media have reported that his departure was linked to a scandal involving the purchase of provisions for the Ukrainian military. Food contracts were allegedly signed at inflated prices.

Separately, the deputy head of Ukraine's presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said he had asked the president to relieve him of his duties. Tymoshenko was among officials linked last September to the embezzlement of aid earmarked for Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia region worth more than $7 million.

Two deputy ministers from Ukraine's Ministry of Communities and Territories Development also resigned on Tuesday amid the broader exodus. Vyacheslav Negoda and Ivan Lukerya both confirmed the moves via Facebook.

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General's Office said Ukraine's Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko had been removed from his post during the shakeup. Symonenko has been at the center of a scandal related to a holiday in Spain. 

'Russia is corrupt from top to bottom'

Five regional governors were later dismissed by Ukraine's government following a presidential decree. They include the heads of the regions of Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson, as well as the region around the capital, Kyiv.

Late on Monday, President Zelenskyy promised personnel changes in the government, regional administrations and security forces after the graft allegations emerged.

In his nightly video address, the president said the war would not distract his government's attention from tackling corruption.

rc/kb (Reuters, dpa, AFP, AP)