The sackings of several top Ukrainian officials on Tuesday came hours after President Volodymyr Zelensky said government officials would be banned from traveling abroad for holidays or for any other unofficial purpose, a move meant to show that corruption would not be allowed to undermine the country’s war effort. .
Mr. Zelensky said in his evening address that he had signed an executive order approving the decision to restrict travel, which was taken by the country’s National Security and Defense Council after a deputy minister was removed from office over the weekend on charges of embezzlement. The president said a border crossing procedure for officials at all levels of government would be worked out within days.
Mr Zelensky also signaled there would be a shake-up in his government, saying he had ‘made personnel decisions’ involving ministries, regional governments, law enforcement and others departments.
A senior adviser to Mr. Zelensky, Mykhailo Podolyak, said on Twitter that these measures show that the Ukrainian president is “directly responding to a key public demand – justice for all”.
Corruption was rampant in Ukraine long before Russia launched its full-scale invasion 11 months ago, and rooting out corruption has remained a priority for both Kyiv and its allies. Arms and aid worth billions of dollars have flowed into the country from Western allies, and the cost of reconstruction efforts is estimated at billions of dollars.
Ukraine is also preparing to fight a possible Russian offensive this spring, and the allies are preparing to send Kyiv billions of dollars in additional equipment, including some of their most advanced weapons.
The European Union has linked Ukraine’s candidate status to changes in the rule of law, justice and corruption. In addition to expressing concerns about the risk of corruption marring post-war reconstruction efforts, some U.S. officials have expressed concern that U.S. weapons donated to Ukraine could be diverted or stolen for resale. .