Volodymyr Zelensky fires several ministers in wartime bribery crackdown

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The report released Saturday claimed the contract proved that individuals in the ministry plotted with food suppliers to defraud the military out of millions of dollars.

Oleksiy Reznikov, the defense minister, said in a social media post that the allegations against Mr Shapovalov were “baseless and groundless” but welcomed his resignation as “a demonstration that the interests of defense are above any cabinet position” .

Ukraine’s governing party drafted a bill on Tuesday to increase transparency in defense procurement.

Anastasia Radina, the head of the parliament’s anti-corruption committee, said the bill would make it mandatory to publish the prices paid for products and services for the military on the government procurement website.

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Ms Radina, a member of Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, said the demand will not be introduced for arms purchases.

“We are required to ensure a degree of transparency in the procurement of the military where such scandals simply will not arise. Can it be done in a way that does not expose customers and suppliers to additional risks? Yes,” she said .

The legislation has been sent to parliament for discussion and would need to be approved by three votes in that chamber before being signed into law by the president.

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On Sunday, a deputy minister of the infrastructure ministry, Vasyl Lozynsky, was fired after being arrested by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. He is accused of taking a bribe of $400,000 to secure a bloated generator procurement contract.

A recent spate of corruption allegations comes at a sensitive time for Mr Zelensky.

Domestic implications

His government relies heavily on Western financial and military aid. Ukrainian diplomats often admit that they are concerned about the weakening of public opinion in donor countries.

Russian propaganda has often tried to argue that such support is lost.

Mr. Zelensky’s crackdown on alleged bribery also has domestic implications. He came to power in 2019 on a largely anti-establishment and anti-corruption platform.

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The European Union cited progress on corruption last year as justification for granting Ukraine candidate status.

Oleksandr Novikov, the head of the agency that investigates Tymoshenko’s tastes in cars, told local media last month that the investigation was partly motivated by Western demands for transparency in exchange for aid.

“The partners must explain to their constituents why this aid is being provided. That is why it is necessary to submit statements, to submit reports from political parties, to see that no one benefits from human suffering,” he said at the time.

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