Ukraine's Commander-in-Chief takes Defence Ministers side in food procurement scandal

Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, has called for thorough scrutiny of the corruption allegations against the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine and advised those involved not to shift responsibility from subordinates to their leader, as this harms the common cause and goes against NATO principles.

Source: Zaluzhnyi on Facebook

Details: The commander stressed that the military command system must be unshakable, especially in wartime.

Zaluzhnyi stated that the needs of Ukrainian troops have increased significantly since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, but in spite of this, the armed forces are being provided with ammunition, military uniforms and food of high quality and in sufficient quantities.

He emphasised that the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of Ukraine "have zero tolerance on corruption", so any information about possible instances must be thoroughly scrutinised, legally assessed and handled properly.

Quote: "Shifting responsibility or guilt from subordinates to leaders not only harms the common cause but also goes against NATO principles, which we are committed to implementing. This is true for both the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of Ukraine."

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  • On 21 January, reported that Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence is paying two or three times as much for soldiers’ food than Kyiv shop prices. The December agreement [the contract on provision for the Armed Forces of Ukraine – ed.] with Aktiv Company [the company which supplies food to the Armed Forces of Ukraine – ed.] was signed on behalf of the ministry by one Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, who has been involved in a case concerning the embezzlement of US$580,000 while purchasing military ammunition.

  • The Ministry of Defence of Ukraine said the allegation of overpriced food was a lie and promised to refer the matter to the Security Service of Ukraine.

  • Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov denied the corruption allegations against the Ministry of Defence, linking the surfacing of the tender allegations with the Ramstein meeting, and stated that the person responsible for the leak will be prosecuted.

  • The State Investigation Bureau of Ukraine reported in mid-January that it had blocked a massive military food theft scheme, and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau stated that it had opened an investigation into the theft of food before the media reported it.

  • Viacheslav Shapovalov, the Deputy Defence Minister of Ukraine, resigned and was dismissed on 24 January amid the scandal about inflated food prices for the military.

  • On 24 January, the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) reported that it has demanded that Oleksii Reznikov conduct an internal investigation into Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, the head of the State Procurement Department, against whom the NAPC had already drawn up an administrative protocol.

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