By Chris King • 18 September 2023 • 20:26
Image of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
SIX deputy defence ministers and the department’s Secretary of State were fired by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this Monday, September 18.
Posting in his Telegram channel, Taras Melnichuk, the representative of the Cabinet of Ministers in the Verkhovna Rada, only the First Deputy Minister, Alexander Pavlyuk, escaped the cull.
Those removed from their positions included deputy ministers Vladimir Gavrilov, Vitaly Deinega, Anna Malyar, Rostislav Zamlinsky, Denis Sharapov and Andrey Shevchenko. He pointed out that Konstantin Vashchenko, the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Defence, was also fired.
According to information published on the website of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, so far, there has been one first deputy head of the ministry sacked along with six deputy ministers, reported tass.ru.
In early September, amid another corruption scandal involving procurement in the Ministry of Defence, Zelenskyy replaced Alexey Reznikov the former head of the department, with Rustem Umerov.
Some Ukrainian experts noted at the time that by this action, Zelenskyy was probably hoping to quell the corruption scandal surrounding the Ministry of Defence. He would have some expectation that the new minister would ‘restore order’ they suggested.
With a rising number of Ukrainians pointing their finger at him as the person possibly responsible for the ongoing corruption in the country, President Zelenskyy recently moved to equate wartime corruption with treason.
‘I don’t know whether Ukrainian MPs will support my idea, but I will definitely propose it. We have to implement systemic changes. This is the way to fight corruption’, he said.
Zelenskyy added: ‘I have set a task, and the legislators of Ukraine will be offered my proposals on equating corruption with high treason during wartime. I understand that such a weapon cannot operate constantly in society, but during wartime, I think it will help’.
In his first speeches in the Rada, and in front of the then-staff of the defence department, Umerov indeed named digitalisation as one of the priority areas of his work in his new position. According to him, that would make it possible to fight corruption more effectively.
At the same time, Ukrainian analysts began to speculate which of the deputy ministers of Reznikov’s team might end up being dismissed.
Many were expecting the dismissal of Anna Malyar, one of the department’s speakers. Her habit of regularly making incorrect statements has repeatedly caused ambiguous reactions in Ukrainian society.
Another deputy whose resignation was among the first to be predicted was Denis Sharapov, who was responsible for procurement.
Immediately after Reznikov’s dismissal, Ukrainian parliament member Alexey Goncharenko reported that three deputy ministers had written their resignation letters. These included Vladimir Gavrilov, Vitaly Deinega and Andrey Shevchenko.
However, Deinega later denied this, saying that he expected to continue implementing the projects he had launched. Two other officials did not comment on the deputy’s information.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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