These are accusations that the country had escaped since the beginning of the war. But, in recent days, several cases of alleged corruption have erupted in Ukraine, revealed by the media. To the point that senior officials announced their resignation on Tuesday.
What are the charges?
The alleged facts are embarrassing to say the least for kyiv, almost a year later Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to several media, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has signed contracts at inflated prices – “two to three times” higher than normal prices – to buy food products for soldiers. For the year 2023, the contract amounts to 350 million dollars, according to the information site ZN.UA.
At the same time, a completely different affair broke out at the same time. This weekend, the First Deputy Minister of Community and Territorial Development, Vasyl Lozynkiï, was arrested by the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) on suspicion of embezzlement in connection with contracts of purchase of electrical equipment and generators at inflated prices.
Valentin Reznitchenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region (center), is accused by several media of having awarded road repair contracts worth tens of millions of euros to a group co-founded by his small – friend working. In addition, there are various scandals, including the use by a manager of vehicles intended for humanitarian aid or the departure on vacation of another, in the midst of the conflict.
Several members of the government and relatives of the President, Volodymyr Zelensky, have submitted their resignation in recent days and the list has grown even longer on Tuesday. As of this weekend, the Deputy Minister of Defence, Viatcheslav Chapovalov, in charge of the logistical support of the armed forces, was dismissed from his post.
Pavlo Galimon, the deputy leader of the presidential party “Servant of the People”, was sacked on Monday, amid accusations of corruption linked to the purchase of a property in kyiv for an amount greater than his declared income.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential administration, also resigned, after revelations about the use of a vehicle intended for humanitarian aid. He is one of the few collaborators to work with the head of state since his election in 2019. He notably supervised projects for the reconstruction of installations damaged by Russian strikes.
The Deputy Prosecutor General, Oleksiï Simonenko, has also left his post after being accused of going on vacation abroad in the midst of the conflict – while travel outside Ukraine is prohibited for men of the age of fight, except for professional reasons.
According to Taras Melnychuk, representative of the government to the Parliament, the governors of the regions of Dnipropetrovsk (center) Valentin Reznichenko, Zaporizhzhia (south) Oleksandr Starukh, Sumy (north) Dmytro Zhivytsky, Kherson (south) Yaroslav Yanushevich and the capital kyiv, Oleksiï Kouleba, will leave their posts. However, the departure of the latter would only be linked to his upcoming appointment within the presidential administration.
Three additional deputy ministers were also dismissed from their posts: that of social policy, Vitali Mouzytchenko, and two deputy ministers of territorial development, Ivan Loukeria and Viatcheslav Negoda. Added to this already long list are Anatolyi Ivankevitch and Viktor Vychniov, both deputy heads of the Ukrainian maritime and river transport service.
What are the authorities responding to?
On Sunday – and before the series of resignations – the Ministry of Defense refuted the accusations, assuring that the purchases were “relevant” and the contracts in accordance “with the procedure established by law”. He even reaffirmed a principle of “zero tolerance” in the face of corruption. An emergency meeting was held on Monday around Minister Oleksiï Reznikov.
For his part, Volodymyr Zelensky castigated the corruption cases this Sunday, in a video. “Of course, currently the main concern is on defense, foreign policy and war “, he began. “But there will be appropriate decisions this week. They have already been considered (…) and they will be fair, ”promised the Ukrainian president.
He assured that all the accusations “would be analyzed in detail”, both those on energy and those concerning supplies for the soldiers, as well as relations between the government and the regions. “The population will have all the information and the state will take the necessary strong steps,” said Volodymyr Zelensky, saying he was grateful to the journalists who lifted the veil on these cases.