Over the weekend, a Ukrainian newspaper reported that the Defense Ministry purchased food at inflated prices, including eggs three times as expensive. Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov called the allegations “absolute nonsense” and a product of “distorted information”.
But on Tuesday, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Viacheslav Shapovalov, a deputy minister, had “asked to be fired” following the reports. The ministry said in a statement that while the charges “are unfounded and groundless”, removing Mr Shapovalov from office “maintains the trust” of Ukrainians and the country’s international partners.
Yet the fact that it took Mr Shapovalov three days to resign raises serious questions about the Defense Ministry’s commitment to rooting out corruption, said Vitaliy Shabunin, director of operations at the Anti-Corruption Action Center. Corruption, a non-governmental organization based in Kyiv. .
“A new social contract emerged during the war between civil society, journalists and the government: we will not criticize you as we did before the war, but your reaction to any scandal and inefficiency must be as harsh as possible,” said Mr. Shabounine. . “The position of the Minister of Defense has broken this agreement.”
Also among those sacked on Tuesday were five governors of regions that have at various times experienced heavy fighting, including Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. The governor of Kyiv was also sacked and then reassigned to a post within the presidential administration.
The deputy head of Mr Zelensky’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, has resigned amid criticism over his use of the donated GM SUV. Mr Tymoshenko was well known nationally 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.
The upheaval began over the weekend when Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested a deputy infrastructure minister who was caught taking a $400,000 bribe. a company seeking a government contract to supply generators and other equipment.