Zelensky is scheduled to give a speech Tuesday at the annual gathering of heads of state at the UN, and later in the week is expected to meet with President Joe Biden and members of Congress in Washington as part of his latest efforts to shore up US support for Ukraine’s war effort.
Zelensky has been seeking to demonstrate that Ukraine is tightening its management of the ministry overseeing billions of dollars of military aid for the war. Some US critics of the funding have said that reports of corruption were a reason to place stricter limits on military aid. Some members of Nato are also nervous that aid could be deflected from its intended purpose. Ukrainian civil society groups had complained about a series of contracting scandals involving his ministry.
The decision to dismiss the deputies was made at a cabinet meeting, according to a government statement posted on the Telegram messaging app Monday. The government did not give a reason for the move. It was not immediately known whether the dismissals were related to Zelensky’s replacement this month of defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov with Rustem Umerov. At that time, Zelenskyy cited the need for “new approaches.”
The deputy defence ministers included Hanna Maliar, who has emerged in recent months as one of the most prominent government communicators of the daily movement of Ukraine’s counteroffensive. Maliar continued to post updates on the Telegram about the counteroffensive, hours before her dismissal. The state secretary for defence, Kostiantyn Vashchenko, was also dismissed, the statement said.
There was no information on who would replace the deputy ministers.