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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Ukraine Accuses Protection Firm of Embezzling $40 Million

Ukraine’s intelligence company mentioned it had uncovered a protection firm’s $40 million embezzlement scheme, cash that had been meant to obtain mortar rounds, as the federal government sought to underline its dedication to combating corruption at a time when U.S. army support has stalled.

Officers on the protection firm, Lviv Arsenal, tried to siphon off 1.5 billion Ukrainian hryvnias, or $40 million, from the state finances that had been designated for the acquisition of 100,000 mortar rounds, mentioned the intelligence company, the Safety Service of Ukraine. The Protection Ministry cooperated within the investigation, which implicated a few of its present and former senior officers, the intelligence company, often known as S.B.U., mentioned in an announcement.

The corporate acquired the contract and funds for the purchases in the summertime of 2022, a number of months after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“Nonetheless, it by no means despatched a single spherical to our nation, whereas shifting the cash into the shadows,” mentioned an S.B.U. assertion posted Saturday on the Telegram social messaging app. It mentioned that 5 folks had been charged, however their identities weren’t launched. It was not instantly attainable to contact the corporate, which the Ukrainian information media mentioned was not well-known.

The struggle, and the tens of billions of {dollars} in army support that has include it, has proved a bonanza for protection firms in Japanese Europe, however Ukraine’s allies in the US and Europe have raised the pressure on Kyiv to indicate it could possibly guard in opposition to graft. Proving that Ukraine’s establishments are able to combating corruption successfully can also be key to the federal government’s strategic objectives of becoming a member of NATO and the European Union.

The difficulty has change into extra acute for the Kyiv authorities amid a stalemate in Washington over sending extra aid to Ukraine, with Home Republicans linking the funding to efforts to safe the US border with Mexico. Some U.S. lawmakers have additionally demanded tighter accountability for the funds.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine replaced his defense minister in September and fired the heads of army recruitment places of work a month earlier in measures that consultants mentioned aimed to indicate that the federal government was dealing aggressively with mismanagement and attainable corruption within the highly effective ministry.

The necessity to enhance authorities establishments has elevated given the shortage of progress made by Ukrainian forces within the struggle in opposition to Russia. The failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive final yr to attain vital progress has made a protracted battle extra possible. Ukrainian analysts say that, with Ukrainians underneath heightened stress on the battlefield, it has change into crucial for the federal government to make sure that its key war-fighting establishments are effectively run.

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