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President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Odesa Oblast on May 31, meeting with the regional military and law enforcement heads to discuss the situation in the southern region.
During the meeting, Zelensky introduced the new governor of Odesa Oblast, controversial official Oleh Kiper.
Speaking on the importance of Kiper’s position, Zelensky named the oblast a “priority region” for independent Ukraine.
The safety at sea is paramount to the functioning of the “grain corridor” for Ukraine’s agricultural exports, Zelensky said.
The president was also debriefed by the regional army, navy, and law enforcement heads on the situation in the oblast. They spoke about the military situation, criminality, and the general state of affairs.
Kiper is at the center of a controversy related to his 10-day trip abroad over the Christmas holidays in December 2022.
According to Schemes, an investigative project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Kiper told them he had left Ukraine for "family-related circumstances" but refused to reveal to which country as a matter of safety for his wife. Kiper said that she had renounced her Russian citizenship in July 2022.
However, Schemes reported that at the time of their investigation's publication in February 2023, Kiper's spouse still had a valid Russian passport.