Day 704 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Kyiv Uncovers Corruption Scheme For 40 Million Dollars

Ukraine | January 28, 2024, Sunday // 12:30|  views

Day 704 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • Ukraine believes it would have done better if it had used Western weapons without restrictions from the start
  • Kyiv revealed fraud for 40 million dollars in the purchase of weapons
  • Ukraine and Lithuania have agreed to jointly produce drones
  • Putin mocked Russophobia in Europe and criticized Baltic republics for their treatment of Russian minorities

Ukraine believes it would have done better if it had used Western weapons without restrictions from the start

Ukraine would have won the war more quickly if it had been allowed to fire British and other Western weapons at targets deep inside Russia, Ukraine's navy commander told Sky News

Vice Admiral Oleksiy Neizhpapa said the course of the entire conflict would have been very different if Ukrainian forces had been allowed to use Western munitions without restrictions from the start.

The UK, US and other allies agreed to start providing Ukraine with longer-range missiles only last year.

Ukrainian forces have used them to strike targets in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, but not deep into Russian territory due to concerns about escalation. In the wide-ranging interview with Sky News, Oleksiy Neizhpapa also said his navy would be happy to take over two British warships, which the Royal Navy may have to decommission earlier due to a shortage of sailors amid reports the recruitment crisis.

Despite limited naval resources, the Ukrainian armed forces, backed by the UK and other allies, have been conducting David vs. Goliath-style operations against Russia's much larger Black Sea Fleet in and around occupied Crimea, destroying ships, infrastructure and even taking a submarine out, commented Sky News.

Kyiv revealed fraud for 40 million dollars in the purchase of weapons

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced yesterday that it had uncovered a corruption scheme in the purchase of weapons by the country's army with a total value equivalent to about 40 million dollars, Reuters reported, citing BTA.

The announcement of massive procurement fraud, confirmed by Ukraine's defense ministry, will have a huge impact on the country, which has been a victim of Russia's invasion for almost two years.

The struggle to eradicate endemic corruption remains a major concern as Ukraine continues its efforts to secure membership in the European Union.

The SBU reported that the investigation "revealed employees of the Ministry of Defense and managers of the arms supplier Lviv Arsenal" embezzled nearly 1.5 billion Ukrainian hryvnias in the purchase of projectiles.

According to the investigation, former and current high-ranking Defense Department officials and executives of department-related companies participated in the abuse.

The embezzlement also included the purchase of 100,000 mortars for the military.

The SBU reported that a contract for the shells was concluded with Lviv Arsenal in August 2022 - six months after the start of the war - and payment was made in advance, with part of the funds transferred abroad.

But weapons were never delivered, and some of the funds were then moved to other foreign accounts.

The statement said a total of five people from the ministry and employees of the arms supplier had been served with "suspect notices" - the first stage in Ukrainian legal proceedings.

One suspect was detained while trying to cross the Ukrainian border.

Corruption in the military is a particularly sensitive issue in Ukraine as the country tries to maintain high wartime morale and present itself in a positive light with a view to joining the 27-member EU.

Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov was fired in September over various corruption charges, although he enjoyed a solid reputation while representing Ukraine in discussions with Western allies.

While Reznikov is not alleged to have been personally involved in abuses, there were several instances of corruption in the military during his rule - in supplying food to the troops and ensuring proper clothing for servicemen.

Ukraine and Lithuania have agreed to jointly produce drones

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania and Ukraine, Gabrielius Landsbergis and Dmytro Kuleba, discussed the joint production of drones by the two countries, DPA reported.

The two met in Kyiv, where Landsbergis was visiting yesterday. Much of the bilateral talks were devoted to the joint production of drones, but Landsbergis and Kuleba also discussed Ukraine's path to NATO membership, further military aid to the country and sanctions against Russia, it became clear at their joint press conference.

Drones have proven to be one of the most important weapons in the war, which began at the behest of the Kremlin nearly two years ago, DPA notes.

"Lithuania has the technology, we have the opportunity to expand our cooperation, and that was the key topic" of the talks, Landsbergis said.

Ukraine is trying to repel a full-scale Russian invasion with significant support from the West. Lithuania, also a former Soviet republic, is one of the most committed supporters of the attacked country.

Fear of a Russian attack is strong in Lithuania and the two other Baltic republics of Latvia and Estonia. The three countries were forcibly joined to the Soviet Union in 1940, but at the end of the Cold War they left Moscow's orbit and are now part of the European Union and NATO, DPA recalls.

Putin mocked Russophobia in Europe and criticized Baltic republics for their treatment of Russian minorities

Russian President Vladimir Putin today mocked Russophobia in Europe and criticized the Baltic republics for their treatment of Russian minorities at the opening of a World War II memorial in the Leningrad region, Reuters reported.

The agency notes that since sending Russian troops into Ukraine nearly two years ago, Putin has drawn comparisons to the fight against the Nazis in an effort to rally the people of Russia.

"The regime in Kyiv glorifies Hitler's accomplices, the SS men ... In a number of European countries, Russophobia is promoted as state policy," Putin said at a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the end of the Nazi siege of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).

The Russian president criticized the Baltic republics for their human rights violations.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, ruled by Moscow during the Cold War but now members of the EU and NATO, are among the biggest critics of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Reuters notes.

"In the Baltic states, tens of thousands of residents are declared second-hand people, deprived of their most basic rights and subjected to persecution," Putin said. He presented his argument, mentioning the measures taken by these countries against their Russian minorities.

Moscow has repeatedly accused the Baltic republics of xenophobia and treating their Russian minorities as "second-hand".

"We will never pass on the memory and feat of our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers. We will never forget their sacrifice for the great victory. Each of us has loved ones who fought at the front or worked in the rear. Their selflessness and unity, their sincere love for the motherland created a stock of spiritual, moral strength for many future generations. And they all continue to live in our hearts," said the Russian president, quoted by TASS.

Putin recalled the participants in the heroic defense of the Brest fortress, the defense of Moscow and "the courageous, steadfast residents of the besieged city on the Neva river".

Russia, which entered the fight against the followers of Adolf Hitler and Stepan Bandera, who helped the Nazis, will not stop halfway, the head of Russia's foreign intelligence service, Sergey Naryshkin, told reporters after the memorial's opening ceremony.

Our people do not need to be reminded what Nazism is. Nazism is pain, suffering and death. Nazism is absolutely evil. And from such positions, our country assessed the threat hanging over the peaceful inhabitants of Donbas and other regions from the neo-Nazi Kyiv regime”, said Naryshkin. He added that "the memorial complex opened today convinces us once again that our cause is just."

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko expressed confidence that Minsk and Moscow are able to give a worthy rebuff to their detractors.

Now at our borders, they are sharpening their swords to come to us, to make us "better", but we will fight back, you can be sure of that, Lukashenko said during today's celebrations in St. Petersburg, quoted by TASS.

Novinite remains the sole Bulgarian media outlet consistently delivering daily updates and key insights concerning the conflict. Our reporting commenced on the first day, 24th February 2022, and will persist until the conflict's resolution. Despite challenges, our independent journalism remains committed to offering precise, current news to our audience. We appreciate your ongoing support in staying informed! #stayinformed #WarInUkraine

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Tags: Russia, Putin, Ukraine, Kyiv


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