Retired U.S. Brig. Gen. Blaine Holt told Newsmax on Saturday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy must immediately unify the Ukrainian government after he dismissed several deputies for "undisclosed reasons" this week.
"It's a very difficult time because you sweep out that many ministers, you are going to get a lot of sore feelings and palace intrigue," Holt said during "Wake Up America" on Saturday. "What [Zelenskyy] has got to do now is he's got to unify his government. He's got to take that leadership role to get them to move on."
CNN reported early in the week that Zelenskyy "fired a slew" of top officials amid a corruption scandal regarding the procurement of wartime supplies, representing the largest shake-up since the Russian invasion last year.
According to the report, the firings came after the arrest of Acting Minister for Regional Development Vasyl Lozynskyy for allegedly receiving an estimated $400,000 in "unlawful benefits" in return for facilitating contracts for items like power generators, which are desperately needed due to the freezing temperatures and power disruptions caused by the ongoing war.
Oleksandr Tananakin, Lozynskyy's lawyer, told CNN his client was "dismissed" from his post before the allegations from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau came to light.
"No funds, let alone in the amounts indicated by the [National Anti-Corruption Bureau], were found and seized from Mr. Lozynskyy," he said in a statement posted on Facebook on Monday. Tananakin accused the bureau of "deliberately using manipulative tactics to inform the public in order to artificially create a representation of Lozynskyy's guilt and form a negative image of him."
Zelenskyy's deputy chief of staff, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, resigned his position after allegations arose that he used a vehicle meant for humanitarian purposes for business trips, the report said.
"In recent months, I have driven this car about 40,000 kilometers on business trips throughout Ukraine. I will not use this car in the future," he said in a statement.
Holt said that despite the scale of the recent corruption crackdown, there are still a "couple of in-fights" Zelenskyy will need to manage before going to other countries for more aid in the war effort.
"I've talked to my sources on the ground there, and that is exactly what he is trying to do," Holt said. "There is still a couple of in-fights that are very critical, very key, that he's got to surmount. He's probably going to have to do it this week."
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