Ukrainian corrupt officials: “We’re in the army now!”

High-ranking officials of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine were arrested and charged for corruption and machinations in the acquisition of military hardware for the Ukrainian army.

The leadership of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) is conducting an investigation against several high-standing officials of the Ministry of Defense. The main suspect is Deputy Minister of Defense General Ihor Pavlovskiy.

Detectives gathered evidence of fraud in the process of holding tenders for the acquisition of fuel for the needs of the army. In particular, one and the same company with which the ministry concluded contracts in the amount of more than a billion hryvnia almost regularly received state orders. After the contracts were signed this company announced the total amount after which the Ministry of Defense paid some businessmen an additional 150 million hryvnia.

According to information of the Ukrainian press, the company that officials of the ministry were so loyal to is owned by people from the higher echelons of the Ukrainian government.

Deputy Minister of Defense General Ihor Pavlovskiy also figures in another sensational scandal connected to the contract for the re-equipping of the Ukrainian army with new means of communication. As it turns out, Pavlovskiy is the manager of the testing the aim of which was to select a supplier of radio sets for the Ukrainian army. Judging from how the tender was held and how it ended, Pavlovskiy is mixed up in a fiasco in comparison with which the scheme of thievery on the supply of fuel looks more like a provocative misunderstanding.

Back in August a high-standing delegation of representatives of the largest Israeli defense company Elbit Systems, which took part in a tender for such devices, paid an official visit to Kyiv. More than 50% of the products manufactured by Elbit Systems are sold in the U.S., as well as in certain NATO countries and to other armies.

During the meetings held with representatives of the parliament, government circles and the leaders of law enforcement bodies of Ukraine, Elbit (a publicly-owned company, whose shares are traded on the American NASDAQ stock exchange) demanded to receive the results of the testing of the military radio means of communication, insisted on the full transparency of the process of holding the tender and expressed its readiness to conduct any objective inspection of these devices.

According to the information provided by one of the members of the delegation on conditions of anonymity, Elbit understood the importance in cooperation with Ukraine and was ready to provide Ukraine 100% financing in the amount of US. $300 million from the Israeli export agency for the purchase of the most state-of-the-art means of communication for the Ukrainian army. According to plan, the production of the means of communication would be arranged in Ukraine.

All these privileges were promised on condition that Elbit Systems receive honest results of testing of the communication devices in which the company is a participant. However, neither the arrested General Pavlovskiy, who was managing the process, nor any other complicit individuals, informed the Israeli of the results of testing

It became known that the contract had already been signed with a not very well-known Turkish producer. This happened during the visit of President of Turkey Recep Erdogan to Kyiv. This was exactly when tensions in the relations between Turkey and NATO arose due to the fact that Ankara had purchased surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) from Russia.

The deal was done through lobbyism of the scandalous and renowned politician, who headed the Ukrainian Parliamentary Committee on Issues of National Security and Defense Serhiy Pashynskiy, whose son is responsible for acquisitions for the Ukrainian army from the Ukrainian state defense company “Ukroboronprom”.

Head of Military Communications of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Volodymyr Rapko announced the Turkish participant the winner of the tender a day before the start of testing of these devices. All the more, Ukraine buys Turkish radio sets that usually cost 30% less than their equivalents produced by renowned manufacturers at world market prices. The scheme is practically a mirror image of the scandal with the purchase of fuel, when in the bargaining process one price is announced and then the price is jacked up after the contract is signed. In addition to that, the Turkish side is not investing in the production of these radio sets on the territory of Ukraine. The equipment for their manufacture will be built in Turkey.

This rather illogical decision carries certain foreign political risks for Ukraine, which constantly requests assistance of the U.S. for re-armament. The doubts of the U.S. Administration may be rational and justified – is it really worth providing financial assistance to a country that is purchasing products from new friends of Putin? And this raises the final question: will the American taxpayers’ money go towards purchasing the next party of Russian surface-to-air missiles?

The author: Michel THEYS

Michel Theys, a Belgian native, began his career as a civil servant, serving the public for several decades. After retirement, he shifted gears to follow his passion for journalism. With a background in public administration, Theys brought a unique perspective to his reporting. His insightful articles, covering a wide array of topics, swiftly gained recognition. Today, Michel Theys is a respected journalist known for his balanced and thoughtful reporting in the Belgian media landscape.

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