Numerous senior Ukrainian officers resigned or have been fired on January 24 as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pledged to eradicate corruption from his administration amid a high-profile graft scandal that’s threatening to erode the so-far staunch Western help for the management in Kyiv.
The shake-ups got here as not less than three civilians have been killed amid heavy continued heavy preventing within the east, the place Ukrainian forces face “around-the-clock” indiscriminate Russian shelling.
Early on January 24, the deputy head of the presidential administration, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, introduced on January 24 that he had tendered his resignation to Zelenskiy.
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“I thank the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy for the belief and the chance to do good deeds daily and each minute,” Tymoshenko wrote on the Telegram messaging, including, “Thanks to the armed forces for saving and defending our nation.”
Shortly after Tymoshenko’s announcement, Deputy Protection Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov, who was answerable for supplying troops with meals and gear, additionally resigned, citing “media accusations” of corruption.
A press release on the Protection Ministry’s web site mentioned that Shapovalov’s resignation was “a worthy deed” tha would assist retain belief within the ministry.
Additionally on January 24, Deputy Prosecutor-Normal Oleksiy Symonenko was fired in what the Prosecutor-Normal’s Workplace mentioned was a shake-up of senior officers.
A assertion saying his dismissal gave no cause for the choice however mentioned it had been “based on his personal want.”
The departures of the three officers got here after Zelenskiy introduced late on January 23 that he would make personnel adjustments at senior and decrease ranges, following probably the most high-profile graft scandal engulfing Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.
“There are already personnel selections — some immediately, some tomorrow — relating to officers at varied ranges in ministries and different central authorities buildings, in addition to within the areas and in legislation enforcement,” Zelenskiy mentioned in his nightly handle.
The corruption scandal broke on January 22, when the Protection Ministry was accused by an investigative newspaper of overpaying suppliers for troops’ meals. The provider has mentioned a technical mistake was in charge and no more money had been given. The ministry mentioned the accusations have been baseless.
The identical day, Ukraine’s deputy infrastructure minister was detained on suspicion of receiving a $400,000 bribe over the importation of mills in September, an allegation he denies.
The scandal comes as European allies are arguing about giving Ukraine German-made Leopard 2 tanks that Kyiv says it wants to interrupt by Russian traces and recapture territory.
Germany had initially confirmed reluctance each to offering such tanks to Kyiv itself or permitting third international locations which have Leopard tanks to ship them to Ukraine.
However Berlin has come underneath intense stress from Ukraine and several other NATO allies to vary its place and permit the export of the Leopards.
On January 22, German International Minister Annalena Baerbock mentioned Berlin wouldn’t stand in Poland’s method if it selected to ask for re-export permission, whereas on January 23, the European Union’s overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell mentioned Germany was not blocking the export of the tanks.
“From what I perceive, Germany isn’t going to ban the export of those weapons if any EU nation that has them needs to take action,” he mentioned.
On January 23, the German protection group Rheinmetall mentioned it might ship 139 Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine if required.
Rheinmetall mentioned it might ship 29 Leopard 2A4 tanks by April or Might and one other 22 of the identical mannequin across the finish of the yr or in early 2024.
It might additionally provide 88 older Leopard 1 tanks, a Rheinmetall spokesperson mentioned, with out providing a timeframe for supply.
On the battlefield, Ukraine’s Normal Workers mentioned in its January 24 report that it repelled Russian assaults in 11 areas within the Donetsk and Luhansk areas, with enemy fireplace concentrated primarily within the Bakhmut and Avdiyivka instructions, the place heavy preventing has been underneath method for months.
The pinnacle of the Donetsk regional army administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, mentioned three individuals have been killed and three have been wounded by Russian shelling.
“On January 23, the Russians killed three residents of the Donetsk area: in Novopokrovskiy, Paraskoviyivka, and Chasovoy Yar,” Kyrylenko mentioned.
Russian forces additionally continued shelling Ukrainian positions in Zaporizhzhya, Kherson, and Lyman, the Normal Workers mentioned.
Entrance traces have been largely unchanged for 2 months regardless of heavy losses on each side and relentless Russian bombardments.
“Enemy shelling and assaults are occurring around the clock,” Zelenskiy mentioned in his nightly video message on January 23.
“However the battle for Donbas goes on. And the battle for the south goes on. We see how Russia is massing its forces and we all know methods to reply,” he added.