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Ukraine Corruption Scandal Claims Top Officials



Ukraine Corruption Scandal Claims Top Officials

Several senior Ukrainian officials, including front-line governors, were fired Tuesday because of a corruption scandal plaguing President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government as it deals with Russia’s nearly 11-month invasion.

Ukraine’s biggest government reshuffle since the war began came as US officials said Washington was ready to approve supplying Kyiv with M1 Abrams tanks, with international opposition to sending tanks to the battlefront against the Russians eroding.

In a country long gripped by graft, Zelenskyy was elected in 2019 on an anti-establishment and anti-corruption platform, and the new allegations come as Western allies channel billions of dollars to help Kyiv fight Moscow.

Given Ukraine’s rampant corruption, officials in several countries, including the United States, have demanded greater accountability for the aid. While Zelenskyy and his aides portray the resignations and firings as evidence of their efforts to crack down, the wartime scandal may factor into Moscow’s political attacks on Kyiv’s leadership.

Serhii Bochkarev, a 28-year-old translator, welcomed the changes on the capital’s streets.

“Corruption during the war is completely unacceptable because people are dying to fight Russians and defend the motherland,” he said.

The upheaval even reached Zelenskyy’s office. Its deputy head, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, known for his frequent battlefield updates, resigned as the president promised to address graft allegations, including some involving military spending, that had embarrassed authorities and could stymie Ukraine’s efforts to join the European Union and NATO.

Tymoshenko requested that he be relieved of his responsibilities. He didn’t explain.


Ukraine Deputy Defense Minister Resigns

According to local media, Deputy Defense Minister Viacheslav Shapovalov resigned in connection with a food procurement scandal for Ukraine’s armed forces. Oleksiy Symonenko, Deputy Prosecutor General, also resigned.

The country’s cabinet secretary announced the departure of four deputy ministers and five governors of front-line provinces on the Telegram messaging app.

Authorities made no criminal charges public. There was no obvious explanation.

The departures trimmed government ranks that had already been thinned by the deaths in a helicopter crash last week of the interior minister, who oversaw Ukraine’s police and emergency services, and others in the ministry’s leadership.

Tymoshenko was appointed president in 2019 after working on Zelenskyy’s media strategy during his campaign. He was being investigated for his personal use of luxury cars and was one of the officials linked in September to the embezzlement of more than $7 million in humanitarian aid earmarked for the southern Zaporizhzhia region. He has denied the charges.

The Deputy Infrastructure Minister Fired


Vasyl Lozynsky, a deputy infrastructure minister, was fired on Sunday for allegedly participating in a network embezzling budget funds.

According to Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, he was detained by Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency while receiving a $400,000 bribe for assisting in the repair of facilities damaged by Russian missile strikes. He was placed under house arrest, ordered to surrender his passport, required to wear a monitoring device, and instructed not to communicate with witnesses.

“Any internal problems that hinder the state are being cleaned up and will be cleaned up,” Zelenskyy said in a video address Tuesday. It is just, it is necessary for our defense, and it aids our reconciliation with European institutions.”

According to analysts, his message was that corruption would not be tolerated.

“It’s very difficult to save the country when there’s a lot of corruption,” said Andrii Borovyk, executive director of Transparency International Ukraine, a nonprofit organization that fights corruption.

According to Ukrainian political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko, the reshuffle was “intended to remind officials across the entire (power) vertical that the authorities intend to continue fighting corruption in Ukraine, especially during the war, when everything in the country is in short supply.”

According to Fesenko, the head of the independent think tank Penta Center in Kyiv, Ukrainian authorities and Western officials cannot “turn a blind eye to the latest scandals.” According to him, the corruption involved army supplies, so the shake-up was “intended to calm Western partners and demonstrate to Brussels and Washington that their aid is being used effectively.”

Corruption Ukraine

Corruption in Ukraine

Transparency International ranked Ukraine 122 out of 180 countries in its 2021 report on global corruption, with 180 being the most corrupt. Russia came in at 136th place.

Due to entrenched corruption, foreign investors and governments have long been wary of doing business with Ukraine. According to a U.S. State Department 2020 country report, allegations of corruption at high levels of government, in courts, and business have persisted under Zelenskyy, despite a proliferation of anti-corruption panels and measures.

A major corruption scandal could jeopardize the tens of billions of dollars the United States and its allies are pouring into Ukraine to keep fighters armed, civil servants paid, and the lights on. It may jeopardize the United States’ bipartisan popular and political support for Ukraine.

“We applaud President Zelenskyy’s prompt action in this case, as well as the effective action of Ukraine’s anti-corruption institutions, civil society, and media in ensuring effective monitoring and accountability of public procurement and holding those in positions of public trust accountable,” the White House National Security Council said in a statement.

Last June, the EU agreed to put Ukraine on the path to EU membership. Countries must meet economic and political criteria, including adherence to the rule of law and other democratic principles, to join.

Ukraine has also applied for membership in NATO, but the military alliance is unlikely to extend an invitation due to the country’s contested borders, defense establishment shortcomings, and, in part, corruption issues.

Meanwhile, in a surprising turn of events, US officials said the Biden administration plans to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. The decision could be announced as soon as Wednesday, though the tanks could take months or years to arrive.

tanks ukraine

German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

According to one official, the US announcement will be coordinated with Germany’s announcement that it will approve Poland’s request to transfer German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Because the decision has not yet been made public, the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity.

German officials refused to comment on the reported agreement. Without citing a source, the Newsweek Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday that Germany would provide Ukraine with at least one company of Leopard 2 tanks from its own army’s stock.

In his video address on Tuesday, Zelenskyy expressed concern that the number of tanks to be sent would be insufficient. “It’s not about five, ten, or fifteen tanks. “There is a greater need,” he stated.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is scheduled to address lawmakers on Wednesday, many of whom have urged the government to join allies in providing the tanks.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Tuesday that the Poles and other Western allies he did not name are already training Ukrainian soldiers on the Leopards in Poland.

Also on Tuesday, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto suggested that if Turkey blocks their joint bid to join NATO, Finland may consider joining without neighboring Sweden. Although he later retracted his remarks, he was the first senior official in either Nordic country to express reservations about joining NATO at a time when the alliance attempted to present a united front in response to Russia’s invasion.

Following Moscow’s invasion, Sweden and Finland rushed to join NATO, abandoning their long-standing nonalignment policy. Their membership in NATO requires the approval of all NATO members, including Turkey, which has vetoed the expansion, claiming that Sweden must crack down on exiled Kurdish militants and their sympathizers. Several top Ukrainian officials have been implicated in a corruption scandal.

Source: AP


CNN Ousts CEO Chris Licht After A Brief, Tumultuous Tenure




THE NEW YORK CNN fired Chief Executive Chris Licht, After a turbulent year in charge of the faltering news organization, culminating in a stinging magazine feature and the growing realization that he’d lost the trust of the network’s journalists, CNN fired Chief Executive Chris Licht.

Just two days after Licht declared he would “fight like hell” to earn the respect of those around him, the change was revealed at CNN’s editorial meeting on Wednesday morning.

In addition to appointing a four-person interim leadership team, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced during the editorial meeting that he would conduct a comprehensive search for Licht’s replacement.

Republicans had grown increasingly wary of the network due to frequent attacks by the late President Donald Trump. Thus, Licht was mandated to try and make CNN more appealing to both sides of the country’s political spectrum.

However, several network employees viewed Licht’s call for change as a rejection of their prior efforts, and a live town hall interview with Trump last month generated strong opposition.

Don Lemon was fired from the network’s morning show earlier this year after Licht tried to modernize it, but it was unsuccessful. Creating a new prime-time lineup was protracted, as Kaitlan Collins was only recently chosen to host the 9 p.m. hour, which has been without a permanent host since Chris Cuomo was let go in December 2021.


CNN fired Chief Executive Chris Licht.

Just over a year ago, Zaslav appointed Licht to succeed Jeff Zucker, a well-liked predecessor who had created shows like MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” CBS’ morning news program, and Stephen Colbert’s late-night show. Zucker was let go for failing to disclose a mutually beneficial relationship with another CNN executive.

The position “was never going to be easy, especially at a time of great disruption and transformation,” Zaslav wrote in a memo to CNN employees.

He remarked, “Chris put his heart and soul into it. It has been clear throughout his tenure that he has a great affection for journalism and this industry. Unfortunately, things did not turn out as we had intended, and in the end, I was responsible.


An inquiry for comment from Licht has yet to receive a response.

“Inside the Meltdown at CNN,” a lengthy profile of Licht that appeared in Atlantic magazine on Friday, proved embarrassing and probably sealed his demise. Before he arrived, Licht criticized some of CNN’s COVID coverage, which infuriated some journalists.

According to a Wall Street Journal piece published Tuesday night, Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper, and Erin Burnett, three of CNN’s top anchors, reportedly privately voiced their disapproval of Licht’s management.

In the meantime, viewers were leaving. With 494,000 viewers in May, CNN’s prime-time audience was down 16% from April and fell short of MSNBC, its nearest competitor in the news market.

Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley, Eric Sherling, and David Leavy, four current CNN executives, were chosen by Zaslav to lead the network while a replacement is sought.

In the message, Zaslav stated, “We are in good hands, allowing us to take the time we need to run a thoughtful and thorough search for a new leader.”


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Navalny Supporters Hold Demonstrations To Mark Russian Opposition Leader’s 47th Birthday




Russia — As Navalny followers held pickets and demonstrations to mark the imprisoned opposition leader’s 47th birthday on Sunday, with at least 90 people reportedly arrested, Alexei Navalny expressed hope for a better future in Russia despite a crackdown on dissent.

Navalny is currently serving a nine-year sentence for fraud and contempt of court, accusations he claims were made up to get him for his efforts organizing anti-Kremlin protests and exposing state corruption.

His next trial on allegations of extremism could land him in jail for many years. Critics of the Kremlin see the lawsuit as another effort by the Russian government to isolate its main adversary, President Vladimir Putin.

On Sunday, Navalny’s supporters urged protests to show solidarity with him in Russia and overseas.

Some Navalny fans in Russia held solitary pickets to commemorate his birthday, while others spray-painted walls, running the risk of receiving their prison sentences. The organization that tracks political arrests, OVD-Info, reports that at least 90 people were held.

Police increased their presence in central Moscow and moved swiftly to apprehend anyone attempting to set up a lone picket on Pushkin Square or elsewhere in the city.

One individual was able to distribute flyers before being taken away.

One of those arrested was a woman wearing a hoodie with the words “You aren’t alone” inscribed, holding a small black balloon with “Happy Birthday!” on it. She questioned the officers about why they were holding her, but they remained silent.


On Sunday, Navalny’s supporters urged protests to show solidarity with him in Russia and overseas.

Additionally, Navalny’s fans appeared in St. Petersburg and other Russian cities, holding solitary pickets and leaving graffiti and placards in his favor.

Demonstrations in favor of Navalny were held in many European towns.

In a social media statement made public by his allies, Navalny stated that while he would undoubtedly prefer to celebrate his birthday with a family breakfast, kisses from his kids, and gifts, “life is such that social progress and a better future can only be achieved if a certain number of people are willing to pay for the right to have beliefs.”

“The price each has to pay is smaller the more there are of such people,” he remarked. And there will undoubtedly come a time when speaking the truth and defending justice in Russia will be commonplace and completely safe.

After recovering in Germany from the nerve agent poisoning he claimed the Kremlin was responsible for, Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow in January 2021.

He was first given a 22-year prison term for breaking his parole. He received a nine-year term for fraud and contempt of court last year. He is incarcerated in a maximum-security facility 250 miles (150 kilometers) east of Moscow.


On Sunday, Navalny’s supporters urged protests to show solidarity with him in Russia and overseas.

The allegations of extremism against Navalny, which carry a potential 30-year sentence, include his anti-corruption foundation and remarks made by his closest friends. His allies claimed that the accusations retrospectively criminalize all of Navalny’s foundation’s actions since its establishment in 2011.

The fresh claims coincide with an increased crackdown on dissent by Russian authorities amid the battle in Ukraine, which Navalny has sharply criticized.

A Moscow court denied a plea from Navalny’s attorneys for more time to review the extensive new charges, which he dismissed as “absurd,” and set a preliminary hearing for Tuesday to discuss technical matters associated with a fresh trial of Navalny.

Navalny cited an investigator saying he would be tried in a different military court on terrorism-related accusations, which might result in a life sentence.

In a social media statement on Sunday, he thanked his supporters and saw his prison sentence “just as an unpleasant part of my favourite job.”

“This is where loss begins,” he said. “My aim for the previous year was not to become nasty and enraged and not to lose the nonchalance of behavior. And if I was successful, it was only because of your help.


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Delta Air Lines Hit With Lawsuit Over Claims Of Carbon Neutrality




A class action complaint was filed against Delta Air Lines on Tuesday, claiming the company falsely advertised itself as the “first carbon-neutral airline” in the world. The complaint filed in California federal court alleges the airline used fraudulent carbon offsets.

Carbon credits are purchased by businesses worldwide to offset carbon dioxide emissions by funding initiatives that promise to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or avoid pollution that would have otherwise occurred. However, suggestions that their benefits are overstated have recently put them in the spotlight.

According to the complaint, Delta is a major customer that has purchased credits from various projects, including wind and solar farms in India and a wetland in Indonesia.


When asked for comment, the airline remained silent.

Mayanna Berrin, a resident of Glendale, California, has filed a lawsuit claiming to represent all Californians who have flown on Delta since March 2020. It claims that any gains from the offsets will be short-lived and would have occurred anyway. A carbon credit is only legitimate if it results in a positive outcome that would not have occurred without the credit.

Three years ago, Delta stated it would become carbon neutral, producing no more greenhouse gas emissions than it removed from the atmosphere. It may also need financial outlay to ensure its absorption in another setting.

According to Berrin, this allowed the company to increase its share of the market and its prices. Berrin, a writer for Nickelodeon, told The Associated Press that individuals her age, just on the cusp of their thirties, are particularly vulnerable to climate concerns.


A class action complaint was filed against Delta Air Lines on Tuesday, claiming the company falsely advertised itself as the “first carbon-neutral airline” in the world.

“I felt comfortable paying more because I was neutralising when I needed to travel for work or to see my family,” she explained. She claimed she was frustrated and sad that she had second thoughts regarding Delta’s adjustments.

“They can’t just claim neutrality if that’s not factually accurate,” she argued. “Lawsuits are scary, and there are probably a lot of people who share my frustrations but don’t realise they have rights or can make a difference if they speak up.” According to her lawyer, Jonathan Haderlein, it is one of only a handful of “greenwashing” claims in the United States based on consumer protection law and the first of its kind against a major American airline.

2:23-cv-04150 is the official case number.

The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2021, aviation will have contributed over 2% of global CO2 emissions.

According to FlightRadar24, which monitors GPS data beamed to satellites and receivers, Delta, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, has 672 flights in the air worldwide as of Tuesday morning.

Source – (AP)

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