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Zelensky could fire Ukrainian PM – media

Denis Shmigal may soon be removed as head of government, Ukrainskaya Pravda has reported

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal could soon be replaced, leading domestic news outlet Ukrainskaya Pravda claimed in a lengthy investigative report published on Wednesday. Shmigal, who has kept his position longer than any post-Maidan coup prime minister, has reportedly fallen out of favor with Vladimir Zelensky.

Zelensky has grown “tired … of the government and its head,” the outlet reported, citing sources within the government and the administration. The Ukrainian leader generally does not like people that do not energize him or who fail to impress him at a personal level, the sources claimed.

“When anyone from [Zelensky’s] team loses this emotional bond with [him], they subsequently lose their position as well,” sources told the outlet. The report describes Zelensky’s relations to Shmigal as similar to those he had with General Valery Zaluzhny before the top military commander’s dismissal in February.

The prime minister’s potential dismissal could also be linked to the tensions between Kiev and the West over anti-corruption reforms, the media outlet reported. The fact that Ukraine’s Western backers “constantly want something and demand something” is a source of ire for Zelensky and his inner circle, according to Ukrainskaya Pravda.

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FILE PHOTO:  President Vladimir Zelensky attends the plenary session of the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, on June 28, 2023.
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Shmigal, who signed the so-called “reform plan” that included changes to Ukraine’s anti-corruption bodies and the judicial system triggered the anger of Zelensky and his administration, according to the media outlet.

“There is an impression that Shmigal could get fired just for those demands to be reviewed,” an “influential member” of Zelensky’s team told Ukrainskaya Pravda.

According to the outlet, any government changes in Ukraine are problematic during martial law, when dissolving the government or making it cease its activities is forbidden. The outlet pointed out, however, that legislation could be “swiftly changed” if there is the “political will” to do so. Shmigal could also be forced into “voluntary” retirement, which would allow this restriction to be circumvented.

Shmigal could be replaced by First Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Sviridenko, according to the newspaper. She reportedly has close and cordial relations with Zelensky’s wife, Elena, whom she regularly accompanies on foreign trips.

Ukrainskaya Pravda reported that, although Sviridenko lacks the necessary political clout over the Ukrainian elites, she is viewed as “100% loyal” by Andrey Yermak – Zelensky’s powerful chief of staff described by The Times as the de-facto ruler of Ukraine. Kiev’s Western backers also reportedly view her favorably.

July 10, 2024 at 11:13PM

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