Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the president of Ukraine, has declared that corruption, a long-standing issue that has been overshadowed by the conflict with Russia, will not be tolerated and that he will make important decisions this week to eradicate it.
After Vasyl Lozinskiy, a deputy minister of regional development, was arrested on suspicion of accepting a bribe, Zelenskiy made his commitment on January 22. On Sunday, Lozinskiy’s resignation was demanded by the ministerial cabinet.
Also a report emerged last week against Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov claiming that the military had allegedly secured food at highly inflated prices.
Reznikov’s ministry described the allegations as “false” and a parliamentary committee had been asked to investigate.
Ukraine has had a long history of rampant corruption and shaky governance, with Transparency International ranking the country’s corruption at 122 of 180 countries, not much better than Russia in 2021.
The EU has made anti-corruption reforms one of its key requirements for Ukraine’s membership after granting Kyiv the candidate status last year.
“I want this to be clear: there will be no return to what used to be in the past, to the way various people close to state institutions or those who spent their entire lives chasing a chair used to live,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.
“This week will be the time for appropriate decisions,” Zelenskiy said. “The decisions have already been prepared. I do not want to make them public at this time, but it will all be fair.”
Elected by a landslide in 2019 on pledges to change the way the ex-Soviet state was governed, Zelenskiy said that his government had accepted the resignation of the deputy minister.