Zelensky announces dismissal of military recruitment heads over bribes scandal
In the latest drive to root out corruption, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has sacked all the heads of the country’s regional military recruitment centres after officials were accused of taking cash from those who want to avoid conscription.
The bribes scandals have come at a time when Ukrainian forces are under growing pressure from a Russian advance in the north-east. At a time when the country is in urgent need of new recruits, Zelensky described the corruption as a form of treachery.
Zelensky’s Pledge To Clear Up Ukraine’s Endemic Corruption
“People who know exactly what war is” and why bribery during conflicts is treason are the ones who can be entrusted with the system of recruitment, Zelensky said in a video statement. He was elected in 2019 on a pledge to clear up Ukraine’s endemic corruption.
The president in recent months has tried to personally and publicly fight such illicit practices. In January, he announced the dismissal of Vasyl Lozynsky, who was accused of embezzlement. Some within the minister’s closest circle also departed the government at the time.
Lozynsky was dismissed from his position for allegedly stealing $400,000 intended for purchasing aid. After the news emerged, Zelensky vowed “there will be no return to what used to be in the past” in his nightly address without specifically referring to the case.
Media Alleges Another Corruption Scandal Involving Defence Ministry
There are dozens of criminal proceedings ongoing against officials of military enlistment offices. The president said there was evidence “some took cash, some took cryptocurrency”. But he did not discuss another case of alleged corruption involving the Ministry of Defence.
The ministry allegedly overpaid for summer camouflage kits bought from Turkey as winter coats for the troops, according to documents seen by ZN.ua. It is said a total of 4,900 jackets that should have cost $142,000 were purchased for $421,000.