Ukraine dismisses top officials in corruption shakeup.
Ukraine has been fighting endemic corruption for years, but the Russian invasion has made the situation worse. To combat this, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced a major political shakeup, dismissing a dozen top officials in the country. This includes governors of regions that have seen heavy fighting and deputy cabinet ministers. The move was prompted by the arrest of Deputy Minister of Development of Communities and Territories, Vasyl Lozynskiy, on suspicion of embezzlement.
The shakeup includes the resignation of Presidential aide Kyrylo Tymoshenko and Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko. Tymoshenko thanked the president for the “opportunity to do good deeds every day and every minute” while Symonenko resigned following media reports that he had holidayed in Spain using a car belonging to a Ukrainian business. The defense ministry also announced the resignation of Deputy Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov following accusations of signing food contracts at inflated prices.
The United States welcomed the dismissals and said that none of the billions of dollars in US war assistance was known to have been involved. Transparency International ranked Ukraine 122 out of 180 in its corruption ranking for 2021. However, President Zelensky himself has been embroiled in corruption scandals in the past, including the use of offshore companies to buy three upmarket properties in London.
Ukraine’s political shakeup is a step in the right direction to combat corruption, but more needs to be done. The country needs to build a strong state and continue to take measures to improve transparency and accountability. Western allies have allocated billions of dollars in aid to Kyiv to counter Russian troops, often preconditioning the support on anti-corruption reforms. This shows that the international community is willing to help Ukraine in its fight against corruption.