Home Updates Ukraine Russia war latest: Zelensky’s corruption purge takes axe to several ministers

Ukraine Russia war latest: Zelensky’s corruption purge takes axe to several ministers

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Boris Johnson visits Ukraine amid fresh sleaze allegations

Vladimir Putin faces “ruin” if a fresh offensive by Russian troops during the spring fails, a top Ukrainian military official has said.

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There are fears in Kyiv that the Russian president could order his troops to go for broke in the months ahead following a number of setbacks in the war.

Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, said if the offensive failed it would be disastrous for both Mr Putin and Russia.

“If the major Russian offensive planned for this time fails, it will be the ruin of Russia and Putin,” he said.

Front lines in the war have been largely frozen in place for two months despite heavy losses on both sides.

Western countries pledged billions of dollars in military aid last week, but have yet to respond to Kyiv’s request for hundreds of heavy battle tanks, which it says it needs to break through Russian lines and recover occupied territory.

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Elsewhere, a number of top Ukrainian officials have resigned from their government jobs after President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered a crackdown on corruption.

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Spring could be decisive in war

Front lines in the war have been largely frozen in place for two months despite heavy losses on both sides.

Western countries pledged billions of dollars in military aid last week, but have yet to respond to Kyiv’s request for hundreds of heavy battle tanks, which it says it needs to break through Russian lines and recover occupied territory.

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Most defence experts say the most suitable tanks available in sufficient numbers are German-made Leopards. But Berlin has so far held back from sending them, or from committing to let allies such as Poland send them.

Germany was not blocking the re-export of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, the European Union’s top diplomat said on Monday.

Ukraine and Russia are both widely believed to be planning spring offensives to break the deadlock in what has become a war of attrition in eastern and southern Ukraine.

“If the major Russian offensive planned for this time fails, it will be the ruin of Russia and Putin,” Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, said in an interview with news site Delfi.

Matt Mathers24 January 2023 11:45

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Two more deputy ministers resign in Ukraine government shake-up

Two deputy ministers resigned from Ukraine’s Ministry of Communities and Territories Development on Tuesday amid a broader exit of senior officials from the government.

Vyacheslav Negoda and Ivan Lukerya both confirmed the moves on their Facebook pages.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said he was planning to streamline his wartime government and crack down on corruption.

Matt Mathers24 January 2023 11:24

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Decision on supplying tanks to Kyiv ‘purely political’ – German chief of defence

The decision about the delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine will be taken solely at the political level, Germany’s chief of defence Eberhard Zorn said on Tuesday.

“This is purely a political decision,” he said at a defence conference in Berlin org anised by Handelsblatt.

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Berlin has for days been under pressure to provide tanks to Kyiv after several European countries vowed to do so.

Matt Mathers24 January 2023 11:03

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Senior Ukrainian officials step down in rare purge in Kyiv

Several senior Ukrainian officials resigned on Tuesday in the biggest leadership shakeup of the war with Russia so far, in what an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky called an answer to public calls for “justice”.

Some, though not all, of the resignations were linked with corruption allegations. Ukraine has a history of graft and shaky governance, and is under international pressure to show it can be a reliable steward of billions of dollars in Western aid.

“There are already personnel decisions – some today, some tomorrow – regarding officials at various levels in ministries and other central government structures, as well as in the regions and in law enforcement,” Zelensky said in an overnight video address.

(Ukraine President’s Office)

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Matt Mathers24 January 2023 10:30

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Finland and Sweden Nato talks ‘need pause’

Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto said official talks between Turkey, Finland, Sweden and Turkey on the two Nordic nations’ plans to join the Nato military alliance needed to pause for a few weeks.

Turkey’s president said yesterday that Sweden should not expect his country’s support for Nato membership after a protest near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm at the weekend including the burning of a copy of the Koran.

“A timeout is needed before we return to the three-way talks and see where we are when the dust has settled after the current situation, so no conclusions should be drawn yet,” Ms Haavisto told Reuters. “I think there will be a break for a couple of weeks,” he added.

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Sweden and Finland applied last year to join North Atlantic Treaty Organization after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They now need the backing of all current Nato states to progress with their application.

But alliance member Turkey has said Sweden in particular must take a clearer stance against what Ankara sees as terrorists, mainly Kurdish militants and a group it blames for a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.

Liam James24 January 2023 10:00

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Covid-19 cut human trafficking, Ukraine war may reverse this

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the first drop in the known number of human-trafficking victims in 20 years as trafficking opportunities and policing were reduced, but the Ukraine war has probably now caused a new surge, a UN report said.

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The number of detected trafficking victims fell 11 per cent in 2020, the most recent year for which data is available in most countries, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its seventh Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

Conflicts tend to increase trafficking and the war in Ukraine is unlikely to be an exception, it added.

Liam James24 January 2023 09:30

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Ukraine deputy prosecutor general out in corruption purge

Ukraine’s deputy prosecutor general has been sacked by Volodymyr Zelensky, becoming the latest in a purge of officials over corruption claims.

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The president threatened jail time for grafting officials as he announced that he would be clearing out the government ranks.

Deputy prosecutor general Oleksy Symonenko follows Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, and Vyacheslav Shapovalov, deputy defence minister, out the door.

A letter announcing Mr Symonenko’s departure said he left “according to his own wish”.

Liam James24 January 2023 09:00

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Ukraine’s deputy defence minister next out the door in corruption scandal

Ukraine’s deputy defence minister has resigned, citing “media accusations” of corruption that he and the ministry say are baseless.

A statement on the defence ministry’s website said that Vyacheslav Shapovalov’s resignation was “a worthy deed” that would help retain trust in the ministry.

Mr Shapovalov was responsible for supplying troops with food and equipment.

His resignation follows that of Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office.

Liam James24 January 2023 08:30

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Leading Zelensky aide resigns amid corruption scandal

The deputy head of Ukraine‘s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said he has asked President Volodymyr Zelensky to relieve him of his duties.

“I thank the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky for the trust and the opportunity to do good deeds every day and every minute,” Mr Tymoshenko wrote on the Telegram messaging app. The aide had been one of the leading social media presences getting the Ukraine government’s line across to the public.

Mr Tymoshenko gave no reason for his resignation. Ukrainian media had reported that Tymoshenko might be part of the personnel shake-up Mr Zelensky announced.

Mr Zelensky said on Monday that personnel changes would be announced this week in the government, the regions and in the security forces after allegations of corruption nearly a year into Russia’s invasion.

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Tymoshenko holds up a letter as he announces his resignation

(Reuters)

Liam James24 January 2023 08:03

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Boris Johnson urges more support for Ukraine ‘now’

Boris Johnson has urged western allies to give Ukraine “all the help that they need” to defeat Russian military forces, just a day after his surprise visit to the country.

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In an editorial renewing his support for the war-torn nation, the former prime minister writes: “Look at those brave Ukrainians and answer me this question: just what the hell are we waiting for?”

Mr Johnson positioned himself as a key ally of Kyiv during his time at No 10 and has consistently called for further military support for Ukraine.

(Reuters)

Stuti Mishra24 January 2023 07:30



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