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Zelensky: Security council bans state officials from leaving Ukraine, except for business trips.

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 24, 2023 12:43 AM 2 min read
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Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council has banned state officials from leaving the country during martial law, except for official business trips, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address on Jan. 23.

Under martial law, Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 are banned from leaving the country during the war, except for cases when they obtain special permits from the government. Some Ukrainian state officials and businesspeople have routinely abused this system and bypassed the restrictions.

The ban on state officials' travel abroad follows a scandal around Oleksiy Symoneko, a deputy prosecutor general.

Symonenko went for a vacation to Spain in December-January using a Mercedes car owned by Lviv-based businessman Grigory Kozlovsky, according to an investigation by online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.

Symonenko has a shady background and faces the accusations of blocking corruption cases. He has helped destroy a bribery case against Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff Oleh Tatarov, signing an order to transfer it from the independent National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine to the presidentially controlled Security Service of Ukraine.

New top prosecutor accused of sabotaging graft cases, persecuting opposition

Zelensky also said that the National Security and Defense Council had imposed sanctions against 21 representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Among others, these include Mikhail Gundyayev, the nephew of Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Mikhail Gundiayev is also the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church at the World Council of Churches.

Zelensky said that these Russian citizens are supporting terror and genocide while cloaking themselves with faith.

He also said that there would be a major government reshuffle. He did not name anyone, however.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a deputy chief of staff for Zelensky, has submitted his resignation, Ukrainska Pravda reported on Jan. 23, citing anonymous sources in the government.

He is expected to be replaced with Oleksiy Kuleba, governor of Kyiv Oblast, according to the sources.

The governors of Sumy, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson oblasts are expected to resign too, the sources said.

Lawmaker Yaroslav Zheleznyak said on Telegram that some regional governors would be fired and there might be at least three replacements at the Cabinet of Ministers.

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