Zelensky Purges Nine Top Officials as Ukraine Corruption Allegations Linger
Nine senior government officials have now been purged in Ukraine as part of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s response to widespread allegations of corruption across his administration.
Four deputy ministers and five regional governors were sacked by Ukraine’s cabinet on Tuesday, according to the Telegram channel of Oleg Nemchinov, the secretary of the cabinet of ministers.
Ukraine’s deputy prosecutor general, Oleksiy Symonenko, also announced his resignation on the same day, as Breitbart News reported.
The clearout follows months of allegations that some of Ukraine’s top leaders were profiting from the bloody conflict with Russia, buying military food at inflated prices and taking luxury holidays as their countrymen fight Russia’s invasion.
In December, Symonenko allegedly went on holiday to Spain using a Mercedes owned by a prominent Ukrainian businessman, while a spokesperson for Ukraine’s border guard was also publicly shamed for partying in Paris as the war continued to envelope eastern Ukraine.
In response, Zelenskyy on Sunday vowed to stamp out any corruption within Ukraine’s leadership.
His public pledge came as a deputy infrastructure minister, Vasyl Lozynsky, was fired for alleged participation in a network embezzling budget funds.
Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency detained him while he was receiving a $400,000 bribe for helping to fix contracts for restoring facilities battered by Russian missile strikes, according to Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.
He was put under house arrest, told to surrender his passport, ordered to wear a monitoring device, and told not to communicate with witnesses.
Officials in several countries, including the United States, have demanded more accountability for the aid, given Ukraine’s rampant corruption.
While Zelensky and his aides portray the resignations and firings as proof of their efforts to crack down, the wartime scandal confirms the criticisms that have dogged Zelensky since he first took office.
AP reports the departures thinned government ranks already diminished by the deaths of the interior minister, who oversaw Ukraine’s police and emergency services, and others in the ministry’s leadership in a helicopter crash last week.
The conflict with Russia is set to reach it’s one year anniversary next month.