In the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, an event has taken place. According to Ukraine’s security service, there has been a reported case of embezzlement involving employees from an arms firm and defense ministry officials.
The incident involved a significant amount of money that was intended for the purchase of mortar shells for the ongoing conflict with Russia.
The SBU announced on Saturday evening that charges have been filed against five individuals, and one person has been apprehended while attempting to cross the Ukrainian border. If they are convicted, they could potentially be sentenced to a maximum of 12 years behind bars.
The investigation arises as Kyiv strives to combat corruption in order to expedite its accession to the European Union and NATO. Officials from both groups have called for extensive reforms to combat corruption before Kyiv can become a member.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected in 2019 on a platform focused on combating corruption, well before the recent events in Ukraine. The recent dismissals of top officials, including Ivan Bakanov, former head of the State Security Service, in July 2022, have been presented by both the president and his aides as evidence of their commitment to combat corruption.
According to security officials, the ongoing investigation traces its origins to August 2022. At that time, officials entered into a contract with arms firm Lviv Arsenal for artillery shells valued at 1.5 billion hryvnias ($39.6 million).
Upon receiving payment, employees of the company were expected to transfer the funds to a business registered overseas, which would subsequently deliver the ammunition to Ukraine.
However, the goods were never delivered and the money was instead sent to various accounts in Ukraine and the Balkans, investigators said.
According to Ukraine’s prosecutor general, the funds have been seized and will be returned to the country’s defence budget.