The Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office announced Monday, November 6, that it had officially informed two Defense officials of an investigation targeting them for embezzling several million euros from the purchase of poor-quality bulletproof vests, a new case of corruption in this country facing Russian invasion.
According to the Prosecutor's Office, a former Deputy Minister of Defense and one of his collaborators are the subject of an investigation for "embezzlement of public funds" and "are the subject of a suspicion notification".
The two men, whose names have not been revealed, “ordered personal protective equipment of insufficient quality from abroad” by prepaying for it in full and without respecting “the planned quality control procedure”, had detailed in early October the State Investigation Bureau, an anti-corruption body.
“As a result, the Ukrainian armed forces received poor quality bulletproof vests which cannot be used in combat without endangering lives,” the Bureau of Investigation further denounced, which then estimated the fraud at more than six million euros.
The two men, who are in custody, face up to 12 years in prison. According to the Bureau of Investigation, these embezzlements represent a new episode in a more global affair worth a total of more than 36 million euros and which relates in particular to contracts for the supply of poor quality ammunition to the Ukrainian army.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has been rocked by several corruption cases since the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022, even pushing Defense Minister Oleksiï Reznikov to resign last September.
The fight against corruption, an endemic evil in the country, is one of the criteria set by the EU for examining the candidacy of Ukraine, which has received tens of billions of euros in Western aid since the start of the war.