There are no weapons that cost Ukraine 36 million

In the war against Russia, Ukraine must also deal with another enemy that risks undermining its military efforts and the sacrifice of its soldiers: corruption. Kiev authorities have uncovered a major fraud involving senior defense officials who, with the complicity of a Ukrainian company, obtained a contract worth approximately 36.4 million euros. The money was supposed to be used to purchase 100 thousand ammunition. However, the supplies never reached the troops at the front.

According to information released by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), five “high-ranking officials” of the Ministry of Defense organized this fraud with the complicity of Lviv Arsenal, which supplied the ammunition. The ministry had paid the first tranche of the contract in August 2022, but later discovered that the company had transferred the funds it received “to the accounts of another affiliated structure in the Balkans” without delivering ammunition. One of the officials involved was arrested while trying to flee the country.

The scandal has drawn renewed attention to corruption in the country, which is one of Ukraine’s weak points on its path to joining the European Union. But this case reopens wounds that go beyond the possibility of Kiev’s integration. First of all, this fraud is a blow to the stomach for Ukrainians who sacrificed their lives in the war against Moscow. President Volodymyr Zelensky has been asking for more military aid from the West for months, and the lack of ammunition is one of the weak points of the partners’ support. The European Union had promised to deliver 1 million ammunition to Kiev by next March, but to date the quota is just over 300 thousand units. From these figures it becomes clear why the 100,000 mortar shells at the center of the fraud discovered by the Department of Defense represent a significant gap in the country’s war effort.

But not only that. The scandal also highlights tensions between Zelensky and his chief of staff, Valery Zaluzhny. The latter has long accused the president of not adequately supporting the military, pointing to a lack of weapons and ammunition. Zelensky responded to this accusation by authorizing the SBU, the same body that discovered the munitions fraud, to investigate errors allegedly committed by the military at the beginning of the conflict that could have paved the way for a Russian invasion. Zaluzhny was called as a witness; some read this as an attempt to tarnish the president’s image. Some politicians close to Zelensky also blamed the failure of the counter-attack on the head of the armed forces.

Behind this conflict between the two most popular figures in the country lies a political question, first of all, if not all: Zaluzhny could become Zelensky’s opponent in the next presidential election.

Source: Today IT