Last week saw a major personnel reshuffle within President Volodymyr Zelensky’s political entourage.

The changes were unexpected and no explanations were provided other than a hint from the Ukrainian leader that he wanted to make his presidential office more “efficient.”

First, on March 26 Zelensky dismissed Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (RNBO) Oleksiy Danilov and replaced him with the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Oleksandr Lytvynenko.

Oleh Ivashchenko was named the new head of the Foreign Intelligence Service.

Danilov has been appointed Ukraine's ambassador to Moldova.

On March 29, Zelensky dismissed two deputy heads of the Presidential Office: Oleksii Dniprov and Andriy Smyrnov.


The following day, Zelensky dismissed two more members of the Presidential Office and four advisors

According to decrees published on the president’s official website on March 30, the following were dismissed:

  • Serhiy Shefir, Zelensky's First Aide and a long-time business partner
  • Olena Verbytska - commissioner on issues for Ukrainian defenders’ rights
  • Natalia Pushkaryova – the president's commissioner for volunteers
  • Mykhailo Radutsky, a lawmaker and advisor who headed the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Health, Medical Care and Medical Insurance
  • Serhiy Trofimov, who previously served as first deputy head of the President's Office, but was dismissed in November 2020 and appointed to the position of external advisor to the head of state. He was responsible for regional policy
  • Oleh Ustenko, advisor on economic issues.

In his evening address that evening, Zelensky indicated that more changes can be expected.

“We continue to reboot our state institutions,” he said. “Several changes have been made this week and there are still more decisions in preparation.”

Observers have noted that the more controversial figures in the President’s Office, namely its head Andriy Yermak, and his deputy, Oleh Tatarov, as well as the press secretary Serhii Nykyforov, have so far remained in place.   

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Zelensky urged the UK to help boost Ukraine's "long-range capability," saying lifting restrictions on Western weapons would allow Ukraine to better defend against Russian offensives.

In recent months. Zelensky has dismissed a number of key officials without much transparency. They include his former ambassador in London, Vadym Prystaiko, the defense minister Oleksii Reznikov, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

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