Ukraine's Zelenskiy: More changes coming to fight graft in government

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a joint news briefing with Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine January 30, 2023. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday said he was not finished shuffling the ranks of senior officials and that anyone failing to perform according to strict standards faced dismissal.

Last week Zelenskiy responded to reports of official corruption, 11 months into the war, by firing more than a dozen functionaries. He vowed there would be zero tolerance for wrongdoing or mismanagement.

"At the moment, we are in the middle of a lull in terms of changes in positions. But that does not mean that all the necessary steps have already been taken," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

"Decisions will be made. And those in the system who do not meet the key demands of the state and society should not be hanging around in their seats."

Zelenskiy was elected by a landslide in 2019 on pledges to change the way Ukraine was run and eliminate corruption, an endemic problem in post-Soviet society.

In his latest remarks, the president said his administration was planning to introduce changes as part of attempts to proceed with unusually rapid and complex negotiations to secure European Union membership. Ukraine is holding "summit" talks with EU officials on Friday.

"What is very important is that we are preparing new reforms in Ukraine," he said. "These are reforms which in many aspects will change the social, legal and political realities by making them more humane, more transparent and more effective."

Zelenskiy's latest dismissals included one deputy minister accused of taking a bribe and a second implicated in allegations that officials paid inflated prices for food for soldiers.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski, editing by David Ljunggren and Grant McCool)

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