Top Ukrainian officials leave amid anti-corruption drive

LIV – The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office resigned on Tuesday after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pledged to launch a staff restructuring amid high-level corruption allegations 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 resignation was linked to a scandal involving the purchase of food for Ukraine’s armed forces.

Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko also resigned.

Tymoshenko entered the presidency in 2019 after working on Zelenskyy’s media and creative content strategy during his presidential campaign.

Zelenskyj had promised personnel changes in the government, the regional administrations and the security forces after allegations of corruption that arose after the Russian invasion last February.

Tymoshenko was under investigation last year for his personal use of luxury cars. He was also among officials linked to the embezzlement of more than $7 million worth of humanitarian aid destined for the southern Zaporizhia region last September.

He has denied all allegations.

Zelenskyi vowed to oust corrupt officials in comments Sunday when a deputy minister was sacked for being part of a budget-embezzling network. Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry later identified the dismissed official as Vasyl Lozynsky, a deputy minister there.

In his late-night video address, Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s focus on war would not stop his government from cracking down on corruption.

Zelenskyy, who came to power in 2019 on an anti-establishment and anti-corruption platform, pointed to suspicions in the areas of energy and military procurement.

He said he intended by sacking the deputy minister “to send a signal to anyone whose actions or behavior violate the principle of justice.”

“I want to make it clear: There will be no going back to what used to be,” Zelenskyj said.

Oleksandr Kubrakov, the infrastructure minister, said Lozynsky was relieved of his duties after Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency arrested him while receiving $400,000 in bribes for helping to secure contracts related to the restoration of infrastructure facilities close that were hit by Russian missile attacks.

A statement by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine described Lozynsky as part of “an organized criminal group involved in embezzling budget funds.”

It said its detectives were working to identify the other members of the group.

For other developments:

Overnight Russian shelling killed one civilian and wounded two others near the eastern town of Bakhmut, the epicenter of fighting in recent months, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Tuesday.

Russian forces also shelled nine towns and villages in the northern Sumy region bordering Russia, killing a young woman and wounding three other people, local governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy reported on Telegram.

He said the victims all lived in the same house that suffered a direct artillery hit.


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Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Top Ukrainian officials leave amid anti-corruption drive

Sarah Y. Kim

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