Shake up in Ukraine

As Ukraine gears up for what’s been called a pivotal moment in its war with Russia, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is dealing with a bunch of news—some good, some not-so-good.

What happened: The US and Germany agreed to send battle tanks to Ukraine (the M1 Abrams and Leopard tanks, respectively), a major escalation of Western contributions to Ukraine's war effort—and the fulfillment of an ask Zelenskyy has been making for months. 

  • The tanks will be the most powerful offensive weapons NATO has provided to Ukraine so far.

But Zelenskyy is facing trouble on the homefront. Fifteen top Ukrainian officials and five governors of front-line regions have either resigned or been removed from their positions as Zelenskyy cleans house in response to emerging corruption allegations.  

Though no official reason was given for most of the resignations, some explanations are pretty self-evident:

  • The Governor of Dnipropetrovsk resigned after he was accused of siphoning over US$40 million in government contract money to give to associates and his girlfriend.
  • The deputy defence minister stepped down after a newspaper report accused the military of overpaying for food services (a claim the defence ministry has denied).
  • The deputy infrastructure minister was sacked after his arrest on charges of embezzling US$400,000 from a government contract intended to buy generators.

Why it matters: Keeping aid and military assistance flowing from Western countries is Zelenskyy's top priority, and the sweeping crackdown on corruption is intended to reassure his allies that their aid and weapons—now including advanced tanks—are being put to good use.