Zelensky on anticorruption crackdown: ‘Justice will be ensured’

President Volodymyr Zelensky said during his evening address on Feb. 1 that the government wouldn’t “allow anyone to weaken” the state after the largest anti-corruption raid since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022 earlier in the day.

Zelensky thanked “all law enforcement officers who demonstrated the power of the law and the state today,” calling the day “fruitful in confronting those who even now tried to weaken Ukraine.”

He added he would replace officials as many times as necessary until they do not abuse their positions.

Among others, law enforcers raided powerful oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, scandalous former Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and top tax and customs officials ealier on Feb. 1.

The large-scale operation comes as the Ukrainian government strives to show its allies that it is tackling corruption as the West provides unprecedented amounts of aid to Kyiv.

The Economic Security Bureau said on Feb. 1 that it had exposed an alleged $1 billion embezzlement scheme at oil companies Ukrnafta and Ukrtatnafta, which were previously affiliated with Kolomoisky.

The acting head of the State Customs Service, Viacheslav Demchenko, was fired.

Zelensky also said that from domestic supply to procurement, “everything must be absolutely as clean and honest as the external supply for our defense,” after a recent scandal over food procurement in the Defense Ministry.

“Anyone who interferes with this will not remain in the relevant structures,” Zelensky said.

Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov on Jan. 31 promised to improve military procurement through reforms after his ministry had been caught in a corruption scandal.

Ukrainian news site ZN.ua published an investigative report that the armed forces were trying to procure food at prices that were several times higher than in Kyiv grocery stores.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) stated they had been investigating the alleged scheme.