- All six deputy defence chiefs have been abruptly fired with no explanation
- Ukraine says the decision was made on Monday during a cabinet meeting
- It comes after Zelensky fired his top defence chief amid graft allegations
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has fired all six of his deputy defence minister with no explanation weeks after dismissing his top defence minister go.
Ukraine’s cabinet said that the decision was made today, according to a post that revealed the mass dismissal.
No explanation was given as to why Vladimir Gavrilov, 65, Rostyslav Zamlynskii, 47, Hanna Maliar, 45, Denis Sharapov, 50, Vitalii Deineha, and Kostiantyn Vashchenko, 50, were all dismissed.
But the move comes just two weeks after Zelensky fired his wartime defence chief amid allegations of graft and corruption.
Oleksii Reznikov’s tenure at Ukraine’s wartime defence chief was marred by serious allegations of graft, which he denied.
He was accused of signing off on a deal with a Turkish company for winter uniforms that were ‘tripled’ in value.
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Ukrainian journalists also proved that the military uniforms could’ve been bought at a significant lowered price.
He said in response to the allegations at the time: ‘I urge everyone to treat information more critically and responsibly, because it misleads society and, worse still, it misleads our partners, as from outside you’d say it is a disaster.
‘Everything was done in accordance with the law on public procurement… [and ‘via tender procedures.’
Reznikov was also mired by a top-level graft investigation, which alleged that Ukraine’s defence ministry had signed off on a food and catering contract worth 13 billion hryvnias (£278 million) that was hugely inflated.
While Reznikov did not personally sign off on this deal, critics said he was ultimately responsible, and pointed to his zero-tolerance policy on corruption.
He admitted at the time that his ministry’s anti-corruption services ‘failed in their task.’
Ukraine has been cracking down on wartime corruption severely, with President Zelensky moving to equate it to treason in recent weeks, amid a rising number of Ukrainians believing he is responsible for the ongoing corruption in the country.
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Zelensky began the process of changing the law after yet another case of wartime corruption was uncovered several, in which two high-ranking Ukrainian officials were named as suspects in an embezzlement scheme involving the procurement of humanitarian aid.
‘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,’ Zelenskyy said.
‘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.’
The corruption crackdown comes as Ukraine is trying to start membership with the European Union.
The EU has set up a seven-step plan for Ukraine that needs to follow if it wants to join the EU.
This includes strengthening anti-corruption efforts, fighting money laundering and enacting laws that reduce the power of oligarchs in the country.
MailOnline has contacted Ukraine’s defence ministry for comment.