Top Ukrainian officials expelled in anti-corruption crackdown

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KYIV, Ukraine — Several senior Ukrainian officials were ousted from their posts on Tuesday, including a close adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, over corruption charges as Kyiv moved quickly to show zero tolerance for parasites who undermine trust in the West. The country is kept alive by donated arms and billions in economic aid.

Dismissals and resignations – notably of Zelensky’s deputy Kyrilo Tymoshenko; Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov; and Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko — the biggest shakeup of the country’s leadership since Russia launched its full-scale invasion last February.

Other officials, including several regional governors, were removed from their posts altogether.

Congressional Republicans, particularly in the House where they now hold a narrow majority, have raised concerns about accounting for the billions in aid sent to Kiev by the Biden administration. New House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), prodded by his right wing, has said there should be no “blank checks” for Ukraine, and he has pledged greater oversight.

Shapovalov’s removal was directly related to reports in Ukrainian media that Defense Ministry officials bought food for the military at three times the price found in local stores.

The ministry has denied allegations of wrongdoing, but welcomed Shapovalov’s resignation as a confidence-building measure.

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On its official Telegram channel, the Defense Ministry said Shapovalov had been fired “due to allegations related to the procurement of food services” in order not to “create threats to the stable support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

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However, the ministry said the allegations were “baseless and baseless” and Shapovalov’s resignation was “a worthy act in the traditions of European and democratic politics”.

Other officials did not immediately give reasons for their resignations.

Tymoshenko, who was Zelensky’s main domestic adviser, thanked a list of government agencies and officials, including Zelensky’s, “for the trust and opportunity to do good deeds every minute of every day,” but did not explain his departure.

However, local media reported that his resignation was at least partly a result of the investigation Bihus.infoA local media outlet reported that Tymoshenko commandeered a Chevrolet Tahoe SUV donated to the Ukrainian government for humanitarian aid operations for his personal use.

One of the 50 Tahoe vehicles General Motors sent to Ukraine earlier this year to deliver aid and evacuate civilians from the war zone. Tymoshenko confirmed that he drove the car, but said it was for official use.

Over the weekend, Deputy Infrastructure Minister Vasyl Lozhinsky was fired in connection with a bribery case brought by Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency.

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Ukraine, under pressure from the United States and especially the European Union, has been working aggressively in recent years to root out corruption that has long spread throughout the government. The new allegations are particularly sensitive and troubling because the country, in times of war, relies heavily on donations from foreign countries — weapons to fight Russian aggression and money to keep the economy afloat.

In his regular evening speech on Monday, Zelensky said he had made “labor decisions” in the country’s “ministries, central government bodies, regions and law enforcement.”

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He also said that Ukrainian officials will be banned from going abroad for vacation during the war.

“If they want to retire now, they will retire outside the civil service,” Zelensky said.

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