Zelenskyy Fires Defense Ministers Amid Corruption Allegations

In a significant development on Monday, Ukraine witnessed the removal of six of its deputy defense ministers. These dismissals follow the recent ousting of Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, who was allegedly implicated in a corruption scandal two weeks ago.

Other high-ranking officials relieved of their duties include Hanna Maliar, Vitalii Deyneha, and Denys Sharapov, along with Kostiantyn Vashchenko — the state secretary of the Ministry of Defense. The announcement of these terminations came via the official Telegram account of Taras Melnychuk, the permanent representative of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Notably, Melnychuk did not provide any detailed explanation for the firings, leaving many questions unanswered. However, these actions are seen as part of a broader government effort to address accusations of corruption in the military, particularly those concerning procurement practices.

The start of the issue can be traced back to the scandal that led to the removal of Defense Minister Reznikov earlier this month. The scandal centered on alleged irregularities in the defense ministry’s sourcing of military jackets, which were reported to have cost three times higher than their actual value.

Although Reznikov vehemently denied any wrongdoing, he ultimately chose to resign in the face of mounting pressure. This reshuffling within Ukraine’s defense department coincided with ongoing heavy fighting in the eastern part of the country. Ukrainian forces reported capturing the village of Klishchiivka from Russian troops after months of intense battles.

The situation reportedly remained volatile as Ukrainian troops sought to secure their hold on this strategically important area, which is located south of the Russian-controlled city of Bakhmut. The recapture of Klishchiivka was seen as a pivotal achievement, allowing Ukrainian forces to further expand their control around Bakhmut, a key objective in the ongoing conflict.

Over the past 24 hours, six civilians lost their lives, and 16 others sustained injuries, according to reports from the presidential office. Russian forces were accused of launching attacks on residential areas in multiple cities and villages in the Donetsk region, resulting in casualties.

Additionally, artillery attacks in Kherson led to further loss of life, while in Beryslav, Russians reportedly dropped explosives from a drone near a local bus station, injuring multiple individuals.

The Ukrainian air force also reported intercepting a significant number of cruise missiles and drones launched by Russia in the southern regions of Mykolaiv and Odesa. While some property damage occurred in the town of Vylkovo in Odesa, known as the “Ukrainian Venice” for its canal network, there were no immediate reports of casualties.