On Tuesday, the Ukrainian government announced the resignation of multiple high-ranking officials who were accused of massive wartime corruption.
On the same day that the U.S. and Germany agreed to send Ukraine more tanks, several top officials including a top presidential adviser, four deputy ministers, and five regional governors were forced to step down from their positions. These resignations occurred amidst investigations into bribery, aid fund mismanagement, embezzlement, and more.
Many were alleged to be purchasing sports cars and mansions, and going on luxury vacations while the citizens of their country suffer from the war being fought against Russia.
Two of the deputy ministers forced to resign were defense officials, and some of the regional governors were officials who were overseeing regions with intense fighting where Russia has recently reported gains.
The BBC reported that the first government official to resign was Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the president’s deputy head of office, who was accused of using several expensive sports cars during wartime. Despite his resignation, Tymoshenko has denied any wrongdoing.
However, in early December, local Ukrainian news outlets began reporting that Tymoshenko was driving high-end sports cars to and from the country’s capital, and to and from mansions that cost about $10,000 to $25,000 per month.
Amid reports surfaced that Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov purchased military food supplied at inflated prices from a relatively unknown firm, he also stepped down from his position. Similarly, the department denied any corruption and labeled this a “technical mistake.”
Additional officials that resigned on Tuesday include:
- Oleskiy Symonenko, Deputy Prosecutor General
- Ivan Lukerya, Deputy Minister for Development of Communities and Territories
- Vyacheslav Negoda, Deputy Minister for Development of Communities and Territories
- Vitaliy Muzychenko, Deputy Minister for Social Policy
- Regional governors of Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv, Sumy, and Kherson
These accusations and subsequent resignations don’t come as a major surprise, as Ukraine has a history of corruption, ranking 122 out of 180 countries on a list of corrupt states in 2021.
David Arakhamia, the head of President Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, reported that corrupt officials could face jail time.
“Officials at all levels have been constantly warned through official and unofficial channels: focus on the war, help the victims, reduce bureaucracy, and stop doing dubious business,” said Arakhamia. “Many of them have actually listened, but some, unfortunately, did not.”
“If it doesn’t work in a civilized way, it will be done according to the laws of wartime,” he continued. “This applies both to recent purchases of generators and to fresh scandals in the ministry of defense.”