Ukraine Reports Uncovering $40 Million Arms Corruption Scheme

The Security Service of Ukraine announces that five individuals have been charged in connection with a scheme to misappropriate funds designated for the purchase of 100,000 mortar shells.

According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), individuals from a Ukrainian arms company collaborated with Ministry of Defence officials to misappropriate nearly $40 million intended for the purchase of 100,000 mortar shells for the conflict with Russia. The SBU stated on Saturday that charges have been filed against five individuals, one of whom was apprehended while attempting to cross the Ukrainian border. If convicted, they could face a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence has confirmed the announcement, underscoring its significant repercussions for a nation grappling with Russia’s nearly two-year-long invasion.

According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), their investigation uncovered a corruption scheme involving officials from the Ministry of Defence and executives of the arms supplier Lviv Arsenal. The scheme allegedly resulted in the misappropriation of nearly 1.5 billion hryvnias (equivalent to $40 million) allocated for the procurement of shells.

The investigation conducted by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) indicates the involvement of both former and current senior officials from the Ministry of Defence and leaders of associated companies in the misappropriation scheme.

Reportedly, the arrangement entailed the acquisition of 100,000 mortar shells for military use, with a contract finalized in August 2022 and payment made upfront.

However, as per the SBU’s statement, the contracted arms were never delivered, and a portion of the allocated funds was subsequently transferred to foreign accounts.

According to the statement from the security service, “notices of suspicion” have been issued to five individuals involved in both the Ministry of Defence and the arms supplier, marking the initial step in Ukrainian legal proceedings.

The SBU further stated that one suspect was apprehended while attempting to cross the Ukrainian border.

Among those implicated in the scheme are officials who have served in key roles within the Ministry of Defence, including the current and former heads of the Department of Military and Technical Policy and the Development of Armaments and Military Equipment, alongside the head of Lviv Arsenal.

As per Ukraine’s prosecutor general, the misappropriated funds have been confiscated and are slated to be returned to the defense budget.

Corruption within Ukraine’s military has posed a significant challenge as the government endeavors to uphold public morale during wartime and seeks to advance its case for European Union membership.

In September of last year, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov was relieved of his duties amidst a series of corruption allegations.

Russia targets extensive areas across Ukraine

On Sunday, Kyiv’s Air Force reported that Russia conducted drone and missile strikes, targeting both civilian and critical infrastructure across Ukraine.

According to the Air Force, Moscow launched two ballistic missiles from its Iskander ballistic missile system, striking the central Poltava region. Additionally, three surface-to-air missiles were launched over the Donetsk region in the east.

In the southeast Zaporizhia region, Governor Yuri Malashko reported that an infrastructure site was hit in a drone attack.

Governor Filip Pronin of the Poltava region stated on Telegram that the attack in his region targeted an industrial site in the city of Kremenchuk, resulting in a fire.

Kyiv has not yet received preliminary reports of casualties resulting from these attacks.

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