A top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stepped down Tuesday along with several other high-ranking officials in a major personnel shakeup following corruption claims.
The departure of officials including a deputy prosecutor general, a deputy head of the president’s office, a deputy defense minister and five regional governors followed an announcement by Zelensky Monday of “personnel decisions — some today, some tomorrow.”
The president’s office said it had accepted the resignation of Kyrylo Tymoshenko as its deputy head. Tymoshenko offered no reason for his exit but shared a photo on his Telegram channel showing his resignation letter dated Monday.
In a post accompanying the photo, Tymoshenko thanked the president “for trust and 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 has been seen driving several expensive sports cars during the war, but he denied wrongdoing and said the vehicles had been rented.
More personnel changes are expected in the coming days ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion, which largely hit the pause button on domestic politics as political squabbles were set aside to focus on Ukraine’s survival.
“Zelensky’s personnel decisions testify to the key priorities of the state… The president sees and hears society. And he directly responds to a key public demand — justice for all,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior Zelenskiy adviser.
A deputy prosecutor general, Oleksiy Symonenko, was removed from his post “according to his own wish,” the Prosecutor General’s Office said.
Symonenko had come under fire for jetting off with his family to Marbella, Spain, for a 10-day vacation over the winter holidays, according to reporting by local outlets. Symonenko has not commented publicly on those allegations.
Zelensky said in his nightly address Monday that officials would no longer to be permitted 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-government purpose.”
Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov tendered his resignation after a Ukrainian media report accusing the defense ministry of paying inflated prices for food supplies for the military.
The ministry said the allegations were groundless and the result of a “technical error” but that Shapovalov’s resignation was a “worthy deed” that would help retain trust in the ministry.
This week’s crackdown also claimed the jobs of Deputy Ministers for Development of Communities and Territories Ivan Lukerya and Vyacheslav Negoda; Deputy Minister for Social Policy Vitaliy Muzychenko, and the regional governors of Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv, Sumy and Kherson.
In an earlier wartime shakeup, the head of the SBU security service and the state prosecutor general were removed from their posts last July. Zelensky had considered them close allies, but said they failed to root out traitors in 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 to ever join the European Union.
The crackdown also comes as billions of dollars in financial aid and sophisticated military equipment from the US and other Western countries are pouring into Ukraine to bolster its defenses against Russia.
With Post wires