Ukraine Corruption Scandal Gets Worse

Several regional governors are fired and the deputy defense chief resigns
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2023 1:00 AM CST
Updated Jan 24, 2023 11:52 AM CST
Ukraine Deputy Minister Fired for Allegedly Stealing $400K
A cross of the Pechersk Lavra monastic complex is seen against background of the Ukrainian national flag and the Motherland Monument in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 22, 2022.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)
UPDATE Jan 24, 2023 11:52 AM CST

A corruption scandal in Ukraine is widening. The government of President Volodymyr Zelensky fired several Ukrainian officials on Tuesday, including regional governors, reports the New York Times. No details were given, but the Times notes the firings came after reports emerged that the military was paying inflated prices for food going to Ukrainian troops. The nation's deputy defense chief, Viacheslav Shapovalov, resigned over the reports, per CNN. The Times suggests Zelensky is acting quickly to reassure Western allies that no aid sent to the nation will be misappropriated.

Jan 24, 2023 1:00 AM CST

Ukraine's deputy minister of infrastructure, Vasyl Lozynskyi, has been detained and fired after allegedly embezzling $400,000 of government funds. Lozynskyi is accused of conspiring with contractors to inflate the price of aid purchases, like generators, and then siphoning off the difference from the winter aid budget, the Guardian reports. He has also been accused of accepting bribes and kickbacks and of being involved with organized crime, Yahoo News reports. Corruption scandals were common in Ukraine prior to Russia's invasion of the country, and President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke out to reassure citizens after the scandal made headlines.

"I want this to be clear: there will be no return to what used to be in the past, to the way various people close to state institutions or those who spent their entire lives chasing a chair [a state position] used to live," Zelensky said in his nightly address Sunday, though he did not specifically mention the Lozynskyi scandal. Anti-corruption investigators say they found $38,000 in cash in Lozynskyi's office when they detained him Saturday; he was fired Sunday. Other officials at both the regional and national levels are suspected of involvement in the scheme. In an unrelated corruption scandal, Pavlo Halimon, deputy head of Zelensky's party, was fired Monday over corruption allegations involving a Kyiv property purchase. (Read more Ukraine stories.)

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