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Ukraine's prime minister submits resignation, lawmakers say

Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk attends a briefing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk attends a briefing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

KYIV – Lawmakers in Ukraine said Tuesday the parliament is gearing up for a vote to accept the resignation of the nation's prime minister.

Members of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's Servant of the People party that dominates the parliament said Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk has submitted his letter of resignation.

They said the party decided to accept Honcharuk's resignation and replace him with Denys Shmygal in a vote scheduled for Wednesday.

There was no immediate comment from Zelenskiy or Honcharuk.

Shmygal, who was named deputy prime minister last month, had previously served as head of the regional administration in the western Ivano-Frankivsk region.

Honcharuk first offered his resignation in January after he was caught on tape saying Zelenskiy — a former sitcom star with no previous political experience — knows nothing about the economy. Zelenskiy then called the situation “unpleasant” but asked Honcharuk to stay on the job.

It wasn't immediately clear what prompted Honcharuk now to step down.

Ukrainian media reports said that a few other Cabinet members could lose their jobs in the shake-up.

The Cabinet reshuffle comes as Zelenskiy's approval ratings have dropped significantly since his landslide victory in April's presidential election. Zelenskiy ran on promises to end the war with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and combat the country's endemic corruption.

However, clashes in the east have continued and over the past months Zelenskiy also found himself in the middle of the impeachment case against President Donald Trump, who was accused of withholding around $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to pressure it to investigate Democratic presidential rival Biden. Trump was impeached in December on two counts by the Democratic-run House, but Republican-run Senate acquitted him on both counts.