Explain Ukraine’s crackdown on corruption | Pro IQRA News

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The massive shake-up in Ukraine has seen more than a dozen senior officials resign or be fired as the country continues its long-running battle against… corruption.

The crackdown has taken on additional importance since Russia’s invasion of the country, meaning that President Volodymyr Zelensky was relying heavily on Western support and made clear his country’s ambitions to join international organizations outside Vladimir Putin’s sphere of influence.

What is the background?

Zelensky was elected in 2019 on an anti-corruption and anti-establishment platform in a country where cases go back decades. Corruption is commonly referred to as “graft”.

The new allegations come as Western allies funnel billions of pounds into helping Kyiv fight Moscow, and Zelensky has moved to avoid accusations that the subsidy is fueling Ukraine’s addiction to corruption. Officials in many countries, including the United States, have called for more accountability for the aid.

Ukraine He sacked more than a dozen senior officials, including the governors of several key battlefield provinces, in the biggest change of its wartime leadership since the Russian invasion.

Of gold?

The tremor even reached Zelensky’s office.

Its vice president, Kirillo Tymoshenko, a prominent figure for his frequent battlefield updates, resigned. The Associated Press reported that Tymoshenko had asked to be relieved of his duties. He gave no reason for the resignation. Tymoshenko joined the presidential office in 2019, after working on Zelensky’s media strategy and creative content during his presidential campaign.

Kirillo Tymoshenko
Kirillo Tymoshenko

NurPhoto via Getty Images

He was under investigation in connection with his personal use of luxury cars and was also among those responsible linked in September by an investigator working with Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau to misappropriation of humanitarian aid worth more than $7m (£5.7m). He has denied all of these allegations.

Local media reported that Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov also resigned, claiming that his departure was linked to a scandal involving the purchase of food for the Ukrainian armed forces. Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Simonenko also resigned.

In all, four deputy ministers and five provincial governors were appointed to leave office. The authorities have not announced any criminal charges against the departing officials. There was no immediate explanation.

On Sunday, a deputy minister in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Vasyl Lozinski, was fired for being part of a network that allegedly embezzled money from the budget. Lozinsky was relieved of his duties after Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency detained him while he was taking a $400,000 (£324,000) bribe to help him fix contracts related to the restoration of facilities damaged by Russian missile strikes.

What is Ukraine trying to do?

The zero-tolerance approach was set against concerns that allegations of corruption could jeopardize Ukraine’s efforts to join the European Union and the Western military alliance, NATO. The Ukrainian leadership also wants to drop any scandal it can play in Moscow’s political attacks on Kyiv.

Last June, the European Union agreed to put Ukraine on the path to membership in the bloc. In order to join, countries must meet economic and political conditions, including adherence to the rule of law and other democratic principles.

Ukraine has long aspired to join NATO. But the military alliance is not about to make an invitation, due to the country’s disputed borders, the deficiencies of the defense establishment and, in part, its corruption issues.

What does that mean for war?

The departures have weakened the government as Zelensky has already lost his interior minister and others in the ministry’s leadership in a helicopter crash last week.

But in his Sunday night video address, Zelensky did not apologize for the need to tackle corruption even in the face of Russia’s invasion. “I want to be clear: there will be no going back to the way it was in the past,” Zelensky said.

“The president sees and hears society. He is responding directly to a key public demand — justice for all,” wrote Mykhailo Podolak, one of Zelensky’s top advisers, on Twitter.

It comes as Germany has reportedly decided to send its Leopard 2 battle tanks into Ukraine and allow other countries — like Poland — to do the same, ending a hurdle to the much-vaunted armored vehicles, and assuring continued Western support.

With reporting from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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