Six vice ministers of defense in Ukraine were dismissed on Monday following the departure two weeks ago of Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov for a corruption scandalauthorities said, as intense fighting continued in the east of the country.
Among those fired were deputy ministers Hanna Maliar, Vitalii Deyneha and Denys Sharapov, as well as State Secretary of the Defense Ministry Kostiantyn Vashchenko, according to the Telegram account of Taras Melnychuk, permanent representative of the cabinet of ministers.
Melnychuk gave no explanation for the layoffs, although the government is investigating accusations of corruption in the army associated with the purchase of equipment. Rustem Umerov, a lawmaker who is a member of the Crimean Tatar community and who took over as defense minister, did not immediately comment.
Reznikov left the position this month following a scandal involving the acquisition of military jackets by the Ministry to three times its cost. Reznikov denied the accusations, but resigned from the position.
Ukraine advances in Donetsk region
The changes in the department came the day after the Ukrainian army said it had captured the town of Klishchiivka from Russian troops after months of heavy fighting. Fighting continued on Monday as troops tried to hold the town south of the city of Bakhmut, controlled by Russia, in the eastern Donetsk region. Ukrainian forces had earlier recaptured the nearby town of Andriivka.
“The enemy is trying with all its might to recover the lost positions,” Maliar said at a press conference on Monday before his dismissal. “Therefore, our fighters stop the enemy’s attacks there and are entrenched on the achieved borders.”
Recovering Klishchiivka is considered strategic importance because it allows Ukrainian forces expand their advances around Bakhmut.
Elsewhere, six civilians were killed and 16 wounded in the previous 24 hours, according to the presidential office.
Russian forces attacked residential areas in eight cities and towns in the Donetsk region, including Avdiivka and Kurdiumivka, killing one person and wounding four, the office said. Five artillery attacks on Kherson left one dead and another wounded. In the nearby town of Beryslav, Russian forces dropped explosives from a drone near the local bus station, wounding four people, according to the presidential office.
For its part, the Ukrainian air force said it had intercepted the 17 cruise missiles launched by Russia and 18 of the 24 Shahed drones employees in the southern regions of Mykolaiv and Odessa early Monday.
Oleh Kiper, Odessa regional governor, said a recreational facility in the town of Vylkovo had been damaged, but no damage had been initially reported. Vylkovo, often known as the “Venice of Ukraine” for its many canals, is located in the Danube Delta, on the border with Romania.