Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed all officials in charge of regional military recruitment centers amid a widespread corruption scandal.
A scandal linked to the procurement of war-time supplies had already led to Zelensky firing a slew of senior Ukrainian officials at the start of the year, and prompted Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Viacheslav Shapovalov to resign after allegations of corruption surfaced in the media.
Zelensky announced the latest dismissals in a statement on Friday. “I have just held a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council,” he said in a video clip.
“One key issue is the results of the inspection of military registration and enlistment offices.
“In total, there are 112 criminal proceedings against officials of the “military registration and enlistment offices.”
Among the issues, Zelensky cited “iIllicit enrichment, legalization of illegally obtained funds, unlawful benefit, illegal transportation of persons liable for military service across the border.”
He said the decision was to “dismiss all regional ‘military commissioners.’ This system should be managed by people who know exactly what war is and why cynicism and bribery in time of war are high treason.”
Zelensky added that “soldiers who have been to the front or who cannot be in the trenches because they have lost their health, lost their limbs, but have saved their dignity and have no cynicism… They can be entrusted with this recruitment system.”
“Every ‘military commissioner’ against whom there is a criminal investigation will be held accountable,” he said. “Officials who confused their shoulder straps with profit will definitely be brought to justice.”
It follows a major government shake-up in January when Zelensky fired several officials and announced he was banning them from traveling abroad on anything other than official business. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau said it was investigating “high-profile media reports” into allegations that Ukraine’s defense ministry was buying military provisions, including food for the troops, at inflated prices.
Shapovalov, deputy prosecutor general Oleksii Symonenko, deputy ministers of regional development Ivan Lukerya and Viacheslav Nehoda and the deputy minister of social policy Vitalii Muzychenko were all asked to resign or have quit, as were several regional officials.