Jan. 24 (BP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky embarked on a reshuffle of his administration on Tuesday after the government was rocked by a corruption scandal that saw his deputy head of office and at least 10 other officials quit.
The most senior official to go was Kyrylo Tymoshenko, who oversaw regional policy and worked on Zelensky’s election campaign. He was followed by six deputy ministers and five regional governors, a liaison for Zelensky’s cabinet informed parliament.
Tymoshenko, who was the subject of stories in the Ukrainian press alleging he led a lavish lifestyle that included access to luxury sports cars, denied any wrongdoing.
In the 11 months since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Tymoshenko became the unofficial face of the Ukrainian war effort, appearing on television frequently in the role of spokesman.
Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov quit after allegations emerged that he had presided over purchase of food for the military at inflated prices. The defense department said it a “technical mistake” and that no money had changed hands.
Shapovalov quit after a Ukrainian news website published an investigation into the matter on Monday.
His boss, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, sought to play down the news, alleging there had been a mixup due to a technical error by the procurement contractor.
An investigation was opened by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.
In his nightly address Monday, Zelensky said he had ”already made personnel decisions — some today, some tomorrow — regarding officials of various levels in ministries and other central government bodies, in the regions and in the law enforcement system.”
He also announced an immediate ban on officials traveling abroad in which he warned that government servants who did not adhere to the rules would be fired.
”It applies to law enforcers, people’s deputies, prosecutors and all those who are supposed to work for the state and in the state,” Zelensky said.
”If they want to rest now, they will rest outside the civil service. Officials will no longer be able to travel abroad for vacation or for any other non-governmental purpose.”
Ukrainian men of military-age men are banned by law from traveling outside the country without special permission.
Other resignations included Deputy Prosecutor General Oleskiy Symonenko; Deputy Minister for Development of Communities and Territories Ivan Lukeryu; Deputy Minister for Development of Communities and Territories Vyacheslav Negoda; and Deputy Minister for Social Policy Vitaliy Muzychenk.
The regional governors of Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv, Sumy and Kherson also quit their posts.
The resignations come just one week after Oleksiy Arestovych, another top Zelenskyy adviser, quit for falsely stating on national television that Ukrainian forces had shot down a rocket that then struck a Dnipro apartment building on Jan. 14, killing 46 civilians.