Kyiv: Ukraine yesterday dismissed the governors of five battlefield provinces and several other senior officials in the biggest shakeup of its leadership since its conflict with Russia began last year. Among more than a dozen senior Ukrainian officials who were dismissed include, the governors of the Kyiv, Sumy, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. All five regions have been major battlefields over the past year, giving their governors an unusually high national profile.

A Deputy Defence Minister, a Deputy Prosecutor, a Deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's office and two Deputy Ministers responsible for regional development were also among the others who stepped down. Some of the resignations were linked with corruption allegations. 

Ukraine has a history of graft and shaky governance, and is under international pressure to show it can be a reliable steward of billions of dollars in Western aid. Mykhailo Podolyak, aide to President Zelenskiy, in a tweet, called the

decisions an answer to public calls for justice.

In an overnight video address, President Zelensky said, he took decisions regarding officials at various levels in ministries and other central government structures, as well as in the regions and in law enforcement. He also announced ban on officials taking holidays abroad saying, ignoring the war is a luxury no one can afford and if the officials want to rest, they will rest outside the civil service. Among those stepping down were a Deputy Prosecutor General, a Deputy Defence Minister and the Deputy Chief of Staff in Zelenskiy's own office.

The changes came two days after a Deputy Infrastructure Minister was arrested and accused of siphoning off 400,000 dollars from contracts to buy generators, one of the first big corruption scandals to become public since the conflict with Russia began 11 months ago. The changes are a rare shakeup of an otherwise notably stable wartime leadership in Kyiv. 

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