Ukrainian Official Resigns After Scandal


Ukraine flag | Image by Alexey Fedorenko

A Ukrainian official has resigned amid growing public outrage at allegations of corruption levied against public figures by local media outlets.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NACBU) is looking into whether or not the Ministry of Defense broke the law when it bought food for the military, according to a statement released Monday.

In the interim, Viacheslav Shapovalov, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, has quit after the allegations of food supply corruption were made public.

Although the NACBU says that it had already launched an investigation into the Ministry of Defense before media reports about its possible abuses when getting food for the military, the news of the alleged illicit use of public funds caused a public outcry.

On January 21, the Ukrainian newspaper ZN broke a story accusing officials at the Ministry of Defense of using a dummy corporation to sell overpriced food to the army. It claimed the information was from an anonymous source within the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“The most common products turned out to be overpriced two to threefold,” ZN claimed, as reported by Kyiv Post. “That is most likely a phony company created by professionals supplying products for the military.”

The Ministry of Defense responded to the accusations with a formal statement that same day, claiming that the story was full of “false information that harms the interests of defense” and that it was cooperating with the Ukrainian Secret Services’ subsequent investigation.

The claim of misconduct involves purchases worth over $355 million.

These allegations come on the heels of another scandal connected to the procurement of war-time supplies.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fired several officials after Sunday’s arrest of the acting minister for regional development, Vasyl Lozynskyy. An investigation led by the NACBU found that Lozynskyy had allegedly obtained $400,000 in “unlawful benefits” for facilitating deals, including for power generators.

As for Deputy Defense Minister Shapovalov, he announced his resignation through a handwritten letter, saying that he did not want the “unsubstantiated” allegations surrounding him to distract from the country’s war effort. 

“In this situation, the priority is to ensure the stable work of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and to create conditions for transparent, unbiased inspections by law enforcement and other authorized bodies,” Shapovalov continued.

Likewise, the Ukrainian minister of defense, Oleksii Reznikov, addressed the charges, calling them “unfounded and baseless,” and applauded his former deputy.

“[Shapovalov’s letter] is a worthy act in the traditions of European and democratic politics, a demonstration that the interests of defense are higher than any cabinets or chairs,” wrote Reznikov.

Prior to the war with Russia, Ukraine was rated 33 out of 100 in the Corruption Perceptions Index by the German nonprofit Transparency International. According to this index, countries’ scores determine how corrupt each country’s public sector is perceived as being, with 0 meaning highly corrupt and 100 meaning very clean. With the score of 33, Ukraine was tied for 117th out of 180 countries.

The Dallas Express reached out to local experts on corruption and the war between Russia and Ukraine, but at the time of press, no responses have been provided.

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