Several Top Ukrainian Officials Fired Amid Corruption Scandal

Over the weekend, a Ukrainian newspaper reported that the Ministry of Defense had purchased food at inflated prices, including eggs at three times their cost. Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov called the allegations “absolute nonsense” and the product of “distorted information.”

Credit…Ukrainian Defense Ministry Press Office, via Associated Press

But on Tuesday, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said that Viacheslav Shapovalov, a deputy minister, had “asked to be fired” following the reports. The ministry said in a statement that while the accusations “are unfounded and baseless,” relieving Mr. Shapovalov of his duties would “preserve the trust” of Ukrainians and the country’s international partners.

Still, that it took three days for Mr. Shapovalov to step down raises serious questions about the Ministry of Defense’s commitment to rooting out corruption, said Vitaliy Shabunin, the director of operations for the Anti-Corruption Action Center, a Kyiv-based nongovernmental organization.

“A new social contract emerged during the war between civil society, journalists and the government: We will not criticize you like we did before the war, but your reaction to any scandal and ineffectiveness must be as tough as possible,” Mr. Shabunin said. “The position of the defense minister has broken this agreement.”

Also among those dismissed on Tuesday were five governors from regions that have at various points seen intense fighting, including Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. The governor of Kyiv was also dismissed but then reassigned to a position within the presidential administration.

The deputy head of Mr. Zelensky’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, resigned amid criticism of his use of the donated G.M. SUV. Mr. Tymoshenko was well known domestically and internationally, often tasked with providing updates on the war. But Ukrainian journalists had raised questions about his lavish lifestyle and use of government resources.

Credit…Ukrainian Presidential Press service, via EPA/Shutterstock

The shake-up began over the weekend, when Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau detained a deputy infrastructure minister who was caught receiving a $400,000 bribe from a company seeking a government contract to provide generators and other equipment.

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