Ukrainian government officials who shirk their duties during wartime will be quickly removed, a top aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday amid a crack down on corruption.
More than a dozen officials have been removed this week following a series of scandals and graft allegations. Political analysts said Zelensky needs to show Western partners and war-weary Ukrainians that he is serious about punishing misrule.
“Everyone should understand their level of responsibility to the country and nation during the war. Whoever forgets about it receives a quick reaction,” said Andriy Yermak, head of Zelensky’s office.
“This will happen to everyone who allows themselves to forget (their duties), regardless of names and offices,” Yermak wrote on Twitter.
Among the most high-profile cases was that of a deputy defence minister who resigned following a report, which he denied, that his ministry paid inflated prices to feed troops.
A presidential adviser who had been called out by local media for driving flashy cars also quit, as did a senior prosecutor who Ukrainian media reported had gone on holiday to Marbella in Spain, flouting martial law.
Thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed, millions uprooted and cities reduced to rubble since Russian forces invaded Ukraine 11 months ago.
An irritated Zelensky – who earlier in the week said officials and parliamentary deputies would henceforth only be allowed to leave the country on government business – on Thursday reiterated the message.
“Unfortunately, I have to repeat it for those who are hard of hearing,” he said sternly in a video address.
Apart from people whose travel had been permitted, “there will be no other trips abroad by officials or deputies during wartime,” he said. “I think that’s fair.”