- Zelenskiy promises change amidst corruption scandal
- Poland says it plans to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
- Germany hints at approving tank exports as allies press
KYIV, Jan. 24 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has launched high- and low-level bribery charges following the most high-profile bribery allegations since the Russian invasion that threatens to dampen Western enthusiasm for the Kyiv government. Personnel changes are being carried out, he said.
Reports of a new scandal in Ukraine, which has a long history of shaky rule, have European nations vying for deliveries of German-made Leopard 2 tanks. region.
“There are already personnel decisions for officials at various levels in local and law enforcement as well as ministries and other central government structures. Some today, some tomorrow,” Zelenskiy said in a late-night video address Monday evening.
Zelenskiy has not identified a replacement official. Several Ukrainian media outlets reported that cabinet ministers and senior officials could soon be sacked.
Kirilo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, later said he had asked Zelensky to relieve him of his duties. He did not give a reason, but the media had previously reported that he could be part of the makeover.
On Sunday, anti-corruption police said they detained the undersecretary for infrastructure charges for accepting a kickback of $400,000 on generator revenue in September.
A newspaper accused the Pentagon of paying suppliers too much for soldiers’ food. The vendor said it had made a technical mistake and no money had been changed.
Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People’s leader, David Arakhamia, said officials should “focus on the war, helping the victims, cutting bureaucracy and shutting down questionable businesses”.
“We will certainly actively jail this spring. If a humane approach doesn’t work, we will do it under martial law,” he said.
‘Spring will be decisive’
The front line of the war was nearly held in place for two months despite heavy losses on both sides.
Ukraine says Western tanks will provide its troops with the firepower to break through Russian defenses. But Western allies have failed to reach an agreement on arming Kyiv with tanks, wary of actions that could spark Russian tensions.
Germany, which has to approve the re-export of the Leopard, has said it is willing to act quickly if there is an agreement among its allies.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Warsaw would seek permission to send Leopard tanks to Kyiv and would try to get other tanks on board.
Germany has not blocked the re-export of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, the European Union’s top diplomat said on Monday.
US lawmakers have put pressure on the government to export M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine.
Britain said it would supply 14 Challenger 2 tanks. French President Emmanuel Macron said he had not ruled out the possibility of sending Leclerc tanks.
Russia tried to put pressure on itself.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “All countries directly or indirectly involved in supplying Ukraine with arms and raising its technological level bear responsibility for the continuation of the conflict.”
Both Ukraine and Russia appear to be planning a spring offensive to break the stalemate that has become a war of attrition in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Vadim Skivitsky, deputy director of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, told news site Delphi that “if the major Russian attack planned this time fails, it will be the ruin of Russia and Putin.”
Meanwhile, Russian forces attacked Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces repulsed 11 attacks, 10 of which were in the Donetsk region, including the villages of Bakhmut and the southern village of Klishchivka, Ukrainian forces said on Tuesday.
Last week Russia claimed the capture of Klishchiivka. Russian forces have been pressing for months to take control of Bahmut, but with limited success.
Reuters could not confirm the battlefield report.
‘Action Against the West’
In the 11 months following the invasion of Ukraine, Russia shifted its war rhetoric from operations to “secretize” and “demilitarize” its neighbors to defense against an aggressive West. Ukraine and its Western allies call it an unjustified act of aggression.
On Monday, the new general in charge of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine warned that modern Russia had never seen such “military hostilities”, forcing it to conduct offensive operations.
“Our country and its armed forces today are acting against the entire western group,” Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov told the news website Argumenty i Fakty.
Military reforms announced in mid-January could be tailored to counter threats to Russian security, including Sweden and Finland’s desire to join NATO and “using Ukraine as a tool to wage a hybrid war against our country,” he said. said.
Report from the Reuters bureau; text by Costas Pitas and Himani Sarkar; Edited by Stephen Coates, Robert Birsel
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