Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is expected to fire his entire defense cabinet on Monday ahead of a trip to the United Nations General Assembly and Washington.
According to the Cabinet Press Office, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Mariar, Volodymyr Havrilov, Rostislav Zamlinsky, Denis Sharapov, Andriy Shevchenko, and Vitaly Deinekha were officially dismissed at a cabinet meeting.
Secretary of Defense Kostyantyn Vashchenko was also dismissed.
The reasons for this decision were not disclosed, but the Ukrainian news agency Pravda reported, citing a Ministry of Defense official, that “a complete review is underway.”
The dismissal of Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov began in September. The move was made on June 6 following a series of corruption allegations related to equipment and supplies procurement contracts.
Mr. Reznikov strongly denied allegations of corruption during his 22 months at the helm of the Ministry.
The deputy ministers voluntarily resigned at the request of the new Minister of Defense Rustem Umyerov and in accordance with Ukrainian law, which states that if a minister is dismissed, the first deputy minister and deputy ministers are dismissed by the Cabinet of Ministers.
President Zelenskiy will meet with world leaders on the sidelines of a United Nations Summit that began on Monday, before heading to Washington on Thursday for unconfirmed talks with lawmakers at the Capitol.
The trip coincided with President Joe Biden’s efforts to persuade Congress to support $24 billion in additional aid to Ukraine, according to the Washington Post.
The Kiev purge followed Zelensky’s attempt to purge the Ministry of Defense following a corruption investigation, although Reznikov was not personally involved in the investigation.
Mr. Reznikov had been praised for his central role in coordinating the shipment of military equipment and supplies to Ukraine, but Ukrainian lawmakers overwhelmingly voted against him on September 4, the day after his resignation. approved his resignation.
However, in a subsequent meeting to evaluate the findings of the corruption allegations, the National Security and Defense Council decided that the fighters should be vetted by the SBU, Ukraine’s intelligence agency, before being appointed to military commission positions.