A senior Ukrainian defense ministry official has been arrested for embezzling about 36 million euros to buy artillery shells, officials said Friday, as the war-torn country faces ammunition shortages.
According to the prosecutor's office, this senior official, whose identity has not been disclosed, is accused of “organizing a system of embezzlement of budget funds when awarding public contracts” for 1.5 billion hryvnias. The diversions are related to procurement of artillery shells for the armed forces at inflated prices, the organization said in a press release.
“The director of one of the key services of the Ministry of Defense was detained,” the lawsuit said, according to which the security services' search of the accused's house made it possible to “discover documents confirming illegal activities.”
Several corruption scandals — an endemic vice in Ukraine — have rocked Ukrainian officials in recent months, particularly within the military and defense ministries. Investigations have been launched into the supply of substandard ammunition and bulletproof vests or the inflated prices of food items and military uniforms and cyber security software.
In early August, all regional officials responsible for military recruitment were dismissed by President Volodymyr Zelensky, rooting out a corrupt system that allowed conscripts to escape from the army. The fight against corruption, a scourge that is spreading in the country, is one of the criteria set by the European Union to examine the candidacy of Ukraine, which has received billions of euros in Western aid since the start of the war.
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