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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses via video link the 26th Annual Economist Government Roundtable in Lagonisi, Greece.

DPA via Reuters

What We're Watching: Ukraine tackles corruption, Nordics-Turkey NATO drama

Ukraine sacks officials over graft

Just days after the Ukrainian defense ministry called reports of graft in its procurement contracts “nonsense,” a deputy defense minister has been sacked to “preserve the trust” of Kyiv’s international partners. Also ousted: one of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s top deputies, a fellow known for living lavishly and speeding around in a flashy car while his countrymen sleep in trenches. The move follows reports that Ukraine’s defense ministry had overpaid for food supplies, suggesting that kickbacks were in the mix. Despite making progress in recent years, Ukraine’s government has long struggled with endemic corruption, but Kyiv is particularly concerned to allay concerns in Europe and the US, which have sent tens of billions of dollars in aid to the country since Russia’s invasion. We’re also watching to see how things play out among rank-and-file soldiers — allegations of corruption at the top during a war where troops are defending their country with homemade dune buggies is a bad bad look …

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Thousands of Israeli protesters rally against PM Benjamin Netanyahu's new government in Tel Aviv.

Gili Yaari via Reuters Connect

What We’re Watching: Israel’s mass anti-corruption protests, Sweden’s NATO own goal, Germany's mixed signals

Israelis protest proposed judiciary changes

Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Beersheba on Saturday to protest judicial changes proposed by PM Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s new government, the country’s most right-wing coalition to date. While demonstrations have been underway for weeks, more than 100,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv in the biggest rally yet to oppose the proposed reforms that they fear will weaken the High Court of Justice’s power and independence. Bibi’s government feels the judiciary is biased against it and interfering with its ability to govern, and the PM is vowing to push through the reforms despite the outcry. On Sunday, meanwhile, Bibi finally dismissed key ally Aryeh Deri as interior and health minister, days after the high court ruled he was ineligible to hold a senior cabinet post due to a previous criminal conviction. Deri is head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, some of whose members had threatened to turn away from Bibi's wobbly government if the PM fired their boss. Just weeks in, this is another sign that Bibi is going to have a hell of a time keeping his coalition together.

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