Ukraine & Zelensky have a corruption problem

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With the war started by Russia entering its third year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is also fighting on another front—corruption.

On January 9, Zelensky’s defense minister, Rustem Umerov, said an audit had uncovered corruption connected to military procurement worth 10 billion hryvnia ($262 million) in only the four months he had been in post. His predecessor, Oleksii Reznikov, resigned in September over scandals that threatened to sap domestic and international confidence in Kyiv.

These cases included the dismissal of two senior officials over allegations the ministry had inflated contracts for food supplied to troops, including eggs. In December, a defense ministry official was arrested on suspicions that he embezzled nearly $40 million in the fraudulent purchase of much-needed artillery shells for Ukraine’s military.

There was also outrage in August over inflated prices for an order of 233,000 jackets for $20m from Turkish firm Vector Avia that were too light and thus useless for the impending winter.

Claims of graft Zelensky faces “play into deeper Republican criticisms of corruption and the waste of U.S. aid in many other countries around the world,” Anatol Lieven, Eurasia Program director at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, in Washington, DC.

These are “being instrumentalized to reduce U.S. aid where in fact it would have been honestly used and very useful,” he told Newsweek. “Zelensky has been told repeatedly in public and in private that he simply must do something very visible to crack down on corruption to help the Biden administration get its aid package through Congress.”


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!