HomeGlobal Defence UpdatesUkraine: Ukraine detains defence official of embezzling USD 40mn in artillery deal

Ukraine: Ukraine detains defence official of embezzling USD 40mn in artillery deal

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A high-ranking official within the Ukrainian Defence Ministry has been apprehended on charges of embezzling
USD 40 million (1.5 billion Ukrainian hryvnia) related to a contract for artillery shells, CNN reported the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). The SBU alleged that the official, in December of the previous year, entered into an agreement with a specialised export company for the procurement of a substantial batch of artillery shells. Subsequently, a more advantageous contract for the supply of these shells, excluding intermediaries, thereby reducing delivery time and costs, was later signed with the same manufacturer, CNN reported.

According to the SBU, the defence official extended the original, costlier contract, resulting in the transfer of funds amounting to USD 40 million to the accounts of a connected foreign intermediary firm. The SBU claimed that it is in possession of documents substantiating these illicit activities, with the accused facing a potential prison sentence
of up to 15 years if proven guilty.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence has initiated efforts to recover the misappropriated funds. Illarion Pavliuk, head of the Press and Information Department of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, clarified that the contract involved payment without corresponding deliveries. Consequently, legal experts are exploring avenues to terminate the
contract and reclaim the embezzled funds.

In September, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, citing the necessity for ‘new approaches’ amid numerous corruption scandals involving Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence. Rustem Umerov, a former people’s deputy of Ukraine, assumed the role as his successor.

A month later, CNN reported that the US had been urging Ukraine to intensify efforts to combat governmental corruption. Officials revealed that Washington had issued several notices to Kyiv, indicating that specific categories of US economic aid would be contingent on Ukraine’s progress in reforming its institutions.

Addressing concerns about corruption, President Zelenskyy travelled to Washington, DC, to meet with US Senators this month. The urgency surrounding the corruption issue heightened after the EU agreed to initiate membership talks with Ukraine, CNN reported.

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