Kyiv targets graft as Poland asks Berlin to OK Ukraine tanks

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A high-level shakeup within the Ukrainian authorities price almost a dozen senior officers their jobs, because the nation’s president sought Tuesday to root out entrenched corruption whereas conducting the battle towards Russia’s invasion.

The crackdown got here as Poland formally requested permission from Germany to switch a modest variety of its Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine. Germany builds the high-tech armor and Warsaw wants Berlin’s permission to ship them to a non-NATO nation.

In Kyiv, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential workplace stop after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pledged to handle high-level corruption allegations — together with some associated to particular wartime spending — which have embarrassed authorities and will sluggish the nation’s bids to affix the European Union and NATO.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko requested to be relieved of his duties, in keeping with an internet copy of a decree signed by Zelenskyy and Tymoshenko’s personal social media posts. Neither gave a cause for the resignation.

Deputy Protection Minister Viacheslav Shapovalov additionally resigned, native media reported, alleging his departure was linked to a scandal involving the acquisition of meals for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Deputy Prosecutor Common Oleksiy Symonenko stop, too.

In all, 4 deputy ministers and 5 regional governors have been set to go away their posts, the nation’s cupboard secretary mentioned on the Telegram messaging app.

The departures thinned the federal government’s wartime ranks as Zelenskyy had already misplaced his Inside Minister, who oversaw Ukraine’s police and emergency companies, and the remainder of the ministry’s management in a helicopter crash final week.

With Western allies channeling billions of {dollars} to assist Kyiv’s battle towards Moscow, Zelenskyy had pledged to weed out corruption which some observers have described as endemic. Zelenskyy got here to energy in 2019 on an anti-establishment and anti-corruption platform.

Tymoshenko joined the presidential workplace in 2019, after engaged on Zelenskyy’s media and artistic content material technique throughout his presidential marketing campaign.

In his nightly video tackle Sunday, Zelenskyy mentioned Ukraine’s give attention to the Russian invasion wouldn’t cease his authorities from tackling alleged corruption, even amid a warfare.

“I wish to be clear: There might be no return to what was up to now,” Zelenskyy mentioned.

Tymoshenko was final yr below investigation regarding his private use of luxurious automobiles. He was additionally amongst officers linked final September by an investigator working with the Nationwide Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine to the embezzlement of humanitarian help price greater than $7 million earmarked for the southern Zaporizhzhia area. He has denied all of the allegations.

On Sunday, a deputy minister on the infrastructure ministry, Vasyl Lozynsky, was dismissed for being a part of a community allegedly embezzling finances funds.

Oleksandr Kubrakov, the infrastructure minister, mentioned Lozynsky was relieved of his duties after Ukraine’s anti-corruption company detained him whereas he was receiving a $400,000 bribe for serving to to repair contracts associated to restoring amenities battered by Russian missile strikes.

Final June, the EU agreed to place Ukraine on a path towards EU membership. To hitch the bloc, international locations should meet an in depth host of financial and political circumstances, together with a dedication to the rule of regulation and different democratic ideas.

Ukraine has lengthy aspired to affix NATO, too, however the army alliance isn’t about to supply an invite, due to the nation’s contested borders, protection institution shortcomings and, partly, its corruption points.

In the meantime, the supply of an anticipated 14 Leopard tanks from Poland seemed to be a foregone conclusion, with the primary excellent query being when it’ll occur.

German International Minister Annalena Baerbock mentioned Sunday that Berlin wouldn’t search to cease Poland offering the versatile tanks to Kyiv if it requested, and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki mentioned Tuesday the Poles — and different Western allies he didn’t determine — are already coaching Ukrainian troopers in Poland on the Leopards.

German officers confirmed to the dpa information company that they had acquired the Polish utility and mentioned it might be assessed “with due urgency.”

Poland is a number one advocate within the EU for giving army help to assist Ukraine prevail 11 months after the Kremlin’s forces invaded. Although Germany has turn into certainly one of Ukraine’s important weapons suppliers, different Western allies — particularly Poland and the Baltic international locations on NATO’s jap flank that really feel particularly threatened by Russia — have proven impatience with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s perceived slowness to behave.

Polish Protection Minister Mariusz Błaszczak appealed to Germany “to affix the coalition of nations supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks” — a reference to latest strain on Berlin to ship a few of its personal tanks. Germany has hesitated to take that step, regardless of Ukraine’s pleas.

“That is our frequent trigger, as a result of it’s in regards to the safety of the entire of Europe!” Błaszczak tweeted.

Morawiecki aimed one other political broadside at Berlin.

“I hope the response from the German facet comes shortly this time, as a result of the Germans are lingering, dodging, performing in a means that’s obscure,” Morawiecki mentioned.

He claimed Germany was unwilling to defend Ukraine extra broadly and speculated on why that is likely to be: “Does it imply worry, some not fully understandable dread or religion {that a} return to regular relations with Russia is feasible?”

NATO Secretary Common Jens Stoltenberg referred to as for the speedy supply of latest weapons to Ukraine, the place a broad battlefield stalemate is anticipated to provide approach to new offensives within the spring.

“At this significant second within the warfare, we have to present Ukraine with heavier and extra superior techniques, and we have to do it sooner,” Stoltenberg mentioned Tuesday after talks with German Protection Minister Boris Pistorius in Berlin.

Polish officers have indicated that Finland and Denmark are prepared to affix Warsaw in sending Leopards to Ukraine. Poland desires to ship a 14-strong firm of the tanks, however these would barely make an impression in a warfare that includes hundreds of tanks. If different international locations contribute, Warsaw reckons, the tank detachment might develop in measurement.

In different developments:

Ukraine’s presidential workplace mentioned Tuesday that not less than 5 civilians have been killed and 7 others have been wounded in Ukraine over the earlier 24 hours. One Russian rocket hit a college in jap Ukraine, killing one individual, Donetsk area Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko mentioned.

Russian forces additionally shelled 9 cities and villages within the northern Sumy area, which borders Russia, hitting a home the place a younger girl was killed and three different folks have been wounded, native Gov. Dmytro Zhyvytskyy reported on Telegram.


Observe the AP’s protection of the warfare at

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