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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Ukraine spending $100 million a day on conflict – defense minister

Volunteers have provided only around 3% of war supplies during the hostilities, Aleksey Reznikov has said, rejecting corruption allegations

Kyiv has been spending around $100 million a day on the conflict with Russia, the outgoing Ukraine Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov has said. The official made the remarks in an interview with state-run media outlet Ukrinform, published on Monday, in which he rejected corruption allegations and defended the ministry’s procurement policies during his tenure.

Reznikov also dismissed the claims that the country’s military has been largely supplied by volunteers and crowdfunding, stating such take was simply “unfair,” given that the government has been spending some $100 million daily on the conflict.

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“I know all the budgets spent on supplies for the army – those provided by volunteers and officially by the state. I can tell you that supplies from volunteers from February 24, 2022 to date are 3% of everything that went to the war,” Reznikov stated.

Reznikov claimed that the corruption scandals around the military and “labels” eagerly handed out by critics have already scared businessmen away from working with the defense ministry.

“I routinely meet with large associations, speak at their forums, and they say: it is not comfortable for us to strike contracts with the Ministry of Defense or other state institutions because law enforcement agencies immediately begin to bother us and seize our accounts,” the minister stated.

“Everywhere you look, everyone is corrupt, there are no decent people in the world,” he added, suggesting that the ministry’s critics universally see their activities as a “crusade” against “rear rats” and “corruptors” within the ministry.

The outgoing minister assumed his post in November 2021, shortly before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine broke out. His tenure has been marred by multiple corruption scandals, with the ministry repeatedly accused of procuring equipment and foodstuffs from the military at abnormally high prices.

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Reznikov’s interview comes after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced on Sunday his plan to sack Reznikov, seeking to replace him with the current head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine, Rustem Umerov.

Explaining his decision, the president said the Defense Ministry “needs new approaches and new formats of interaction both with the military and society as a whole.” On Monday, Reznikov officially offered his resignation, with the country’s parliament now set to consider it and decide on Umerov’s candidacy.