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Umerov: 'Corruption during war is worse than terrorism'

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 25, 2024 12:27 PM 3 min read
Defense Minister Rustem Umerov at the "Ukraine. Year 2024" forum in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 25, 2024. (Courtesy: "Ukraine. Year 2024" forum)
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Ukraine is committed to cleaning up corruption, Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said, speaking at the "Ukraine. Year 2024" forum in Kyiv, Ukraine.

High-ranking Ukrainian officials met to discuss Ukraine’s future at the “Ukraine. Year 2024” forum on Feb. 25, one day after the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale war.

The “Ukraine. Year 2024” forum will discuss achieving Ukraine’s goals in the war, developing its defense and security forces, implementing Ukraine’s peace formula, ensuring economic growth and integration into world markets, security guarantees, the status of its military-industrial complex, and protecting the lives of Ukrainians.

"Corruption during war is worse for me than terrorism. There will be no negotiations with those who steal from our soldiers and our society," Umerov said, as quoted by a Kyiv Independent reporter.

According to Umerov, the Defense Ministry uncovered "violations worth tens of millions of hryvnias" during its regular inspections of food supplies to military units in recent months.

"We continue to work with the Security Service of Ukraine, the Prosecutor General's Office, the State Bureau of Investigation, and the NABU (National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine) to identift corruption schemes in the Defense Forces," Umerov continued.

Umerov added at the "Ukraine. Year 2024" forum that the Defense Ministry is auditing its structural units and the military, noting that Ukraine must use its internal resources efficiently and and effectively.

"Together with the United States, we have launched a joint inspection of the end use of weapons. The Defense Ministry's Inspector General actively cooperates with the Pentagon's Inspector General. Transparency and close cooperation with our partners is a very important priority," Umerov said.

Several corruption scandals have rocked Ukraine's defense ministry since the onset of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.

Just recently on Feb. 13, the Appeals Chamber of Ukraine's High Anti-Corruption Court ordered the arrest of Oleksandr Liyev, the former head of the Defense Ministry's department in charge of weapons procurement.

Liyev's case was related to a corruption scheme revealed by the Security Bureau of Ukraine on Jan. 27 that involved the procurement of almost 100,000 mortar shells, amounting to almost Hr 1.5 billion ($40 million).

Meanwhile, Umerov introduced on Dec. 18, 2023, the state enterprise Defense Goods Procurement Agency, a new procurement agency for Ukraine's Armed Forces to counter corruption and the misuse of funds related to food procurement for the military.

Among those in attendance at the "Ukraine. Year 2024" forum will be Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, Strategic Industries Minister Oleksandr Kamyshin, Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Vadym Sukharevskyi, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Verkhovna Rada Chairman Ruslan Stefanchuk, First Deputy Prime Minister Yuliia Svyrydenko, Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets, and Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

How has Crimea changed after 10 years of Russian occupation?
Editor’s Note: The names of Crimea’s former and current residents cited in this article were changed to protect their identity amid security concerns. When Ukrainians talk about Crimea, they often talk about memories. For many, this peninsula surrounded by the Black Sea was a place where they spent
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