The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office resigned on Tuesday after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to carry out a staff reshuffle amid allegations of high-level corruption during the war with Russia.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko asked to be relieved of his duties, according to an online copy of a decree signed by Zelenskyy and Tymoshenko’s own social media posts. Neither gave a reason for the resignation.
Deputy Defense Minister Viacheslav Shapovalov also resigned, local media reported, claiming his departure was linked to a scandal involving the purchase of food for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko also resigned.
In all, four deputy ministers and five regional governors were set to step down, the country’s cabinet secretary said on the Telegram messaging app.
With Western allies pouring billions of dollars into Ukraine to help Kyiv’s fight against Moscow, Zelenskyy vowed to root out the corruption some observers have described as endemic. Zelenskyy came to power in 2019 on an anti-establishment, anti-corruption platform.
Tymoshenko joined the presidential office in 2019, after working on Zelenskyy’s media and creative content strategy during his presidential campaign.
Last year he was under investigation in connection with his personal use of luxury cars. He was also among the officials linked last September to the embezzlement of more than $7 million worth of humanitarian aid destined for the southern region of Zaporizhzhia. He has denied all the accusations.
On Sunday, a deputy minister was dismissed for being part of a network of embezzlement of budgetary funds. Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry later identified the fired official as Vasyl Lozynsky, a deputy minister there.
Oleksandr Kubrakov, the infrastructure minister, said Lozynsky was relieved of his duties after Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency detained him while receiving a $400,000 bribe for helping arrange contracts related to restoring infrastructure facilities hit by hacking attacks. Russian missiles.
In his late-night video address, Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s focus on the war would not prevent his government from tackling corruption.
“I want to be clear: there will be no going back to what used to be in the past,” Zelenskyy said.
The anti-corruption campaign is vital if Ukraine is to advance its application for membership of the European Union. To gain EU membership, countries must meet a detailed set of economic and political conditions, including a commitment to the rule of law and other democratic principles.
Last June, the European Union agreed on Thursday to put Ukraine on the path to EU membership, moving with unusual speed and drive to move the embattled country away from Russia’s influence and link it more closely with the West.
Ukraine has also long aspired to join NATO, but the military alliance is unwilling to offer an invitation, partly because of the country’s corruption, shortcomings in its defense establishment and its disputed borders.