Ukraine’s main intelligence and security agency, the SBU, reported the discovery of a fraudulent arms procurement scheme aimed at embezzling approximately $40 million. The scandal, involving senior defence ministry officials and corporate executives, revolves around a bogus contract for purchasing mortar rounds for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The contract, signed with Lviv Arsenal in August 2022, led to the transfer of funds to a foreign commercial entity that failed to deliver any artillery shells.
The implicated individuals include current and former heads of the defence ministry’s Department of Military and Technical Policy, Development of Armaments and Military Equipment, and the head of Lviv Arsenal. One suspect was detained while attempting to flee Ukraine and is currently in custody. Ukraine’s prosecutor general confirmed that the stolen funds have been seized and will be returned to the defence budget.
This revelation is part of a series of corruption scandals within Ukraine’s defence ministry. In August 2023, President Volodymyr Zelensky initiated a major purge, dismissing officials in charge of military equipment across regions to combat systemic corruption and evasion of conscription duties. The European Union, considering Ukraine’s membership, has emphasized the need for robust anti-corruption measures.