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Activists burn flares and smoke bomb during a rally in front of the High Anti-Corruption Court building, in Kiev, on December 30, 2020.— AFP

KYIV: Several senior Ukrainian officials announced their resignations Tuesday as the defence ministry was shaken by a food procurement scandal and the presidency warned of tough anti-graft measures.

The defence ministry announced the resignation of a deputy minister, Vyacheslav Shapovalov, who was in charge of the army’s logistical support.

The resignation comes after the ministry was accused of signing food contracts at inflated prices.

While calling the accusations “unfounded and baseless”, the ministry said Shapovalov’s departure “will preserve the trust of society and international partners”.

The deputy head of the presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, was also among the officials who stepped down.

Tymoshenko said on social media he had submitted a resignation letter, thanking the president for the “trust and the opportunity to do good deeds every day and every minute”.

He posted a photo of himself holding a handwritten resignation letter but did not give reasons for the decision, which was confirmed in a presidential decree.

Tymoshenko was implicated in several scandals during his tenure, including in October last year when he was accused of using a car donated to Ukraine for humanitarian purposes.

Also on Tuesday, Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General announced that deputy prosecutor general Oleksiy Symonenko was stepping down, without providing further details.

Symonenko was recently accused of spending a holiday in Spain and reportedly using a car belonging to a Ukrainian businessman.

In his evening address on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced a ban on officials travelling abroad for purposes not related to work.

“If they want to rest now, they will rest outside the civil service. Officials will no longer be able to travel abroad for vacation or for any other non-government purpose,” Zelensky said.

The announced shakeups come after a Ukrainian deputy minister of development of communities, territories and infrastructure was sacked over the weekend following his arrest on suspicion of embezzlement.

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