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Senior Ukrainian officials quit amid corruption crackdown

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The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office resigned on Tuesday, after Volodymyr Zelenskiy pledged to launch a staff shake-up amid high-level corruption allegations during the war with Russia.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko asked to be relieved of his duties, according to an online copy of a decree signed by the Ukrainian president and Mr Tymoshenko’s own social media posts.

Neither gave a reason for the resignation.

Deputy defence minister Viacheslav Shapovalov also resigned, local media reported, alleging his departure was linked to a scandal involving the purchase of food for the Ukrainian armed forces.

Deputy prosecutor general Oleksiy Symonenko also quit.

Mr Tymoshenko joined the presidential office in 2019, after working on Mr Zelenskiy’s media and creative content strategy during his presidential campaign.

Mr Zelenskiy had promised personnel changes in the government, regional administrations and security forces following corruption allegations that emerged after Russia’s invasion last February.

Last year Mr Tymoshenko was under investigation relating to his personal use of luxury cars.

He was also among officials linked last September to the embezzlement of humanitarian aid worth more than $7 million earmarked for the southern Zaporizhzhia region.

He has denied all the allegations.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko

In all, four deputy ministers and five regional governors were set to leave their posts, the cabinet secretary said.

In comments on Sunday, Mr Zelenskiy vowed to drive out corrupt officials, after a deputy minister was dismissed for being part of a network embezzling budget funds.

Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry later identified the dismissed official as Vasyl Lozynsky, a deputy minister there.

In his nightly video address, Mr Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s focus on the war will not stop his government from tackling corruption.

The president, who came to power in 2019 on an anti-establishment and anti-corruption platform, pointed to suspicions in the areas of energy and military procurement.

He said he intends the deputy minister’s dismissal to send “a signal to all those whose actions or behaviour violate the principle of justice”.

“I want to be clear: there will be no return to what used to be in the past,” he said.

Infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said Mr Lozynsky was relieved of his duties after Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency detained him while he was receiving a $400,000 bribe for helping to fix contracts related to restoring infrastructure facilities battered by Russian missile strikes.

A statement by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine described Mr Lozynsky as part of “an organised criminal group involved in the embezzlement of budget funds”.

It said its detectives are working to identify the group’s other members.

Ukraine’s presidential office said at least five civilians had been killed and seven wounded in Ukraine over the previous 24 hours. One Russian rocket hit a school in eastern Ukraine, killing one person, Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

Russian forces also shelled nine towns and villages in the northern Sumy region, which borders Russia, killing a young woman and wounding three other people, local governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky reported on Telegram.

He said the casualties all lived in the same house, which suffered a direct artillery hit.

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