Corruption Scandal Rocks Ukraine’s Government as Officials Resign

On Tuesday, several senior Ukrainian officials, including governors, were ousted in a corruption scandal that has plagued President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government as it deals with the Russian invasion that began nearly 11 months ago, The Associated Press reports.

This is Ukraine’s biggest government shake-up since the war started.

“Corruption during war is totally unacceptable because people are giving their lives to fight Russians and to defend the motherland,” said Serhii Bochkarev, a 28-year-old translator from the streets of the capital.

The new allegations come as Western allies channel billions of dollars to help Kyiv fight against Moscow. Officials from several countries, including the United States, have called for more accountability for aid given to Ukraine, due to its rampant corruption.

Zelenskyy and his aides claim that the resignations and firings are proof of their efforts to crack down on corruption, but the wartime scandal could play into Moscow’s political attacks on Kyiv’s leadership.

Even Zelenskyy’s office was affected by the shake-up. Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head known for his frequent battlefield updates, quit as the president pledged to address allegations of graft, including some related to military spending. Tymoshenko asked to be relieved of his duties without citing a reason.

Vasyl Lozynsky, a deputy infrastructure minister in Ukraine, was dismissed on Sunday due to allegations of embezzlement of budget funds. The country’s anti-corruption agency arrested him while he was accepting a $400,000 bribe for aiding in the manipulation of contracts for restoring facilities damaged by Russian missile strikes, according to Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov. Lozynsky has been placed under house arrest, and has been ordered to surrender his passport, wear a monitoring device, and refrain from communicating with witnesses.

Local media reported that Deputy Defense Minister Viacheslav Shapovalov also resigned in connection with a scandal involving the purchase of food for Ukraine’s armed forces.

Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko also resigned.

In total, four deputy ministers and five governors of front-line provinces were set to leave their posts, according to the country’s cabinet secretary on the Telegram messaging app. However, authorities did not announce any criminal charges and no explanation was given.