Several senior officials in Ukraine’s leadership in the Ukraine-Russia war resigned on Tuesday. Among them is a close associate of President Volodymyr Zelensky. He called the resignation an answer to public calls for ‘justice’. Reuters news.

Among those who resigned or were fired Tuesday morning were a deputy prosecutor general, a deputy defense minister and the deputy chief of staff in Zelensky’s own office.

There were some allegations of corruption as the reason for the resignation, but not all. Ukraine has a history of corruption and shaky governance. It 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 – about officials at various levels in ministries and other central government structures, as well as in the regions and law enforcement,” Zelensky said in a video message.

Zelensky aide Mykhailo Podoliak tweeted: ‘The president sees and listens to society. He responds directly to a public demand – justice for all.’

The changes come two days after a sub-infrastructure minister was arrested and accused of siphoning off $400,000 from a deal to buy generators. These were among the first major corruption scandals to come to light after the outbreak of war.

Vacheslav Shapovalov, the deputy defense minister responsible for troop supplies, resigned on Tuesday morning as a ‘meritorious act’ to maintain confidence, the Defense Ministry said. He and the ministry have denied allegations of media corruption. A newspaper report said the ministry had paid extra for food for the soldiers. Both the ministry and its suppliers have denied this.

Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Simonenko has been removed from office, the prosecutor’s office announced, without specifying reasons. Simonenko was criticized in the Ukrainian media for vacationing in Spain.

Although Zelensky did not name any officials in his speech, he announced a ban on officials taking vacations abroad. He said, ‘Ignoring war is a luxury that no one can afford. If they want to rest, they will rest outside the civil service.’

Kirill Tymoshenko, deputy chief of staff of Zelensky’s office, announced his resignation without giving reasons. He helped run the president’s 2019 election campaign and most recently had a role overseeing regional policy.

The changes are a rare change in Kiev’s wartime leadership. Aside from a spy agency purge in July, Zelensky has mostly stuck with his party, building around fellow political neophytes the former television actor was elected to power in 2019 on a promise to root out a corrupt political class.

Kyiv says a surge in patriotic sentiment after Russia’s invasion has reduced corruption. But the head of Zelensky’s Servant of the People party promised on Monday that officials would be arrested in an upcoming anti-corruption drive, which would resort to martial law if necessary.

(January 24)