A top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky resigned on Tuesday along with several other top officials in a major staff reshuffle following corruption allegations.
The departure of officials, including a deputy attorney general, a deputy head of the president’s office, a deputy defense minister and five regional governors, followed Zelensky’s announcement on Monday of “personnel decisions – some today , others tomorrow”.
The president’s office said it had accepted Kyrylo Tymoshenko’s resignation as deputy leader. Tymoshenko gave no reason for his departure but shared a photo on his Telegram channel showing his resignation letter dated Monday.
In a message accompanying the photo, Tymoshenko thanked the president “for the trust and the opportunity to do good deeds every day and every minute.”
The 33-year-old father-of-one worked on Zelensky’s election campaign and had been in his post since 2019, overseeing Ukraine’s regions and regional policies.
Ukrainian media reported that Tymoshenko was seen driving several expensive sports cars during the war, but he denied wrongdoing and said the vehicles were rented.
More personnel changes are expected in the coming days ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion, which largely put the pause button on domestic politics as political wrangling was put aside to focus on the Ukrainian survival.
“Zelensky’s personal decisions reflect the main priorities of the state…The president sees and hears society. And it responds directly to a key public demand – justice for all,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Zelenskiy.
A deputy prosecutor general, Oleksiy Symonenko, was removed from his post “according to his own wish”, the prosecutor general’s office said.
Symonenko had been criticized for flying out with his family to Marbella, Spain, for a 10-day holiday during the winter break, according to local media reports. Symonenko has not publicly commented on these allegations.
Zelensky said in his late-night address Monday that officials would no longer be allowed to travel abroad for purposes unrelated to government work.
“If they want to rest now, they will rest outside the civil service,” Zelensky said. “Officials will no longer be able to travel abroad for vacation or any other non-governmental purpose.”
Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov tendered his resignation after a Ukrainian media report accused the Defense Ministry of paying inflated prices for food supplies for the army.
The ministry said the allegations were baseless and the result of a “technical error”, but that Shapovalov’s resignation was a “dignified act” that would help maintain confidence in the ministry.
This week’s crackdown also took away the jobs of Deputy Ministers of Community and Territorial Development Ivan Lukerya and Vyacheslav Negoda; Deputy Minister of Social Policy Vitaliy Muzychenko and regional governors of Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv, Sumy and Kherson.
In a previous wartime reshuffle, the head of the SBU’s security service and the state’s attorney general were removed from their posts last July. Zelensky considered them close allies, but said they failed to root out traitors from their organizations.
Ukraine has a well-documented history of corruption, and in recent years reforms have been enacted to address the problem – a necessary step if Ukraine is ever to join the European Union.
The crackdown also comes as billions of dollars in financial aid and sophisticated military equipment from the United States and other Western countries flow into Ukraine to bolster its defenses against Russia.
With post wires