In May 2022, the society was outraged by spies in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Information appeared that the Ministry of Defense spent UAH 8.9 billion on weapons that were not delivered. The Ministry paid the money for the weapons, but did not receive the promised goods within the time stipulated in the contract.
That is, these are weapons and things that the Ukrainian army did not see. And this is during a full-scale war between Ukraine and Russia. When the existence of an entire state is at stake. The question arises: maybe this is a sabotage against Ukraine?
The Ministry of Defense filed a lawsuit against suppliers for UAH 8.9 billion. This is the sum of only those contracts, information about which appeared in the claims of the ministry as of the end of May. The Anti-Corruption Center suggested that the total amount of receivables could be several times HIGHER. And this assumption, unfortunately, was confirmed.
Negligence of the Ministry of Defense in the amount of UAH 36.3 billion
According to the Ministry of Finance, the overdue receivables of the Ministry of Defense for the period from January 1, 2022 to May 1, 2023 amount to UAH 36.3 billion (almost $1 billion). For comparison, UAH 36.3 billion is almost 3,000 Canadian Senator armored vehicles for Ukrainian soldiers. This could save thousands of military lives. Or about 5 thousand anti-tank missile systems FGM-148 Javelin.
How can you pay almost $1 billion to dubious, unreliable firms? Who is so stupid in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine?
Information about significant amounts of overdue receivables in the Ministry of Defense was also confirmed by the head of the State Audit Office (State Audit Service). These billions “down the drain” during the war are an unacceptable mistake for the leadership of the ministry.
Lies and lies of Minister Reznikov
However, after the excuses and lies of the head of the Ministry of Defense Reznikov because of the scandal with “eggs for 17 UAH”, it became clear that the minister was not going to admit mistakes, much less correct them. And during the war, President Zelensky’s team is in no hurry to judge him. The situation could be corrected by the creation of professional agencies responsible for defense procurement. But unfortunately, even after the scandal, Minister Reznikov hesitated for months to launch an agency responsible for clothing.
Only at the end of April, thanks to the Office of Change at the MoD, the situation seems to have moved forward. Despite the fact that I wrote about the decision to launch the agency CPC (Anti-Corruption Action Center) back in February, immediately after the scandal.
Corruption negligence in arms procurement
The situation with arms purchases now does not give grounds for optimism. Back in July 2022, the Defense Procurement Agency was created in Ukraine. According to the minister, this State Enterprise “was modeled after the NATO logistics organization NSPA (NATO Support and Procurement Agency). To make arms purchases for Ukraine transparent and corruption impossible.” Instead, today the Defense Procurement Agency is listed among the enterprises that owed the Ministry of Defense UAH 131.5 million out of these 8.9 billion and did not supply weapons.
And this, again, is only the amount that appeared in the court register. And this, to put it mildly, is not very similar to NATO standards. Why is this happening?
Management with a criminal reputation
Optimism is not added by the background of the agency’s leadership, which the Ministry of Defense “forgot” to publicly present. Obviously, the ministry does not really want Ukrainians and allies to know who manages their UAH 355 billion in taxes and international financial assistance. And there are reasons for this.
Vladimira Pikuzo is the head of defense procurement
So, the ministry appointed Vladimir Pikuzo as the head of the state enterprise Defense Procurement Agency. Previously, while working in the public sector, he illegally accrued hundreds of thousands of hryvnias of bonuses and additional payments to himself. For some reason, Reznikov did not see more decent people!
Alexandra Kovalenko – Puziko’s deputy
The biography of his deputy, Alexander Kovalenko, looks no better. Previously, he received suspicion for official forgery of contracts with US and UK companies. Then, $7.5 million was transferred to intermediary companies for fictitious consulting services. That is, this person has already laundered financial assistance from the United States and allies. Another “criminal” in a strategic state enterprise.
Russian spies in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
However, Pikuzo and Kovalenko are just pawns in a big game to buy weapons for Ukraine. Denis Sharapov, Deputy Defense Minister Reznikova and Andrey Yermak’s former business partner, remains at the head of this process. Like Andrey Yermak’s father, who once worked in the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Federation, Sharapov has outstanding connections with the “Russian elites.” This is clearly seen in the structure of their joint venture.
Russian Business Quartet in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
So, Denis Sharapov, Andrey Yermak and his father Boris Yermak were partners in the joint business of European Partnership Media Group LLC. The fourth in this company was the Russian Rakhamim Emanuilov. Living in Russia, in addition to entrepreneurship, Rakhamim Emanuilov is also engaged in writing. Among his works are the monograph “Terror in the Name of Faith: Religion and Political Violence” and a book entitled “Revival of Russia: Bear Turns into Tiger”.
But Emanuilov’s “talents” are not limited to this either. The former partner of Yermak and Sharapov takes an active part in the political life of Russia and belongs to the Valdai discussion club. The members of this club are the main propagandists and politicians of Russia. And the annual meetings are accompanied by speeches by Vladimir Putin. From the rostrum of this particular club, he talks about “the exhaustion of the modern model of capitalism”, and nonsense that NATO threatens Russia from the territory of Ukraine.
Spies in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
Last week it became known about the appointment of acting. Director of the Resource Support Department Ruslan Rygovanov. He is known for his appearances on Russian propaganda shows. Thanks to publicity, Rygovanov was removed from his post a few days later, but, judging by the public reports of the ministry, he was not fired.
Be that as it may, this case was another proof that during the war the ministry cannot carry out even a superficial check of its personnel. After all, it gives the “green light” even to those who demonstrate ties with Russia.
It is not clear how partners from the USA and Europe, which are the largest arms producers, can trust Ukraine with such personnel. But it is clear that Ukraine does not deserve such “managers”. Some of them only belong behind bars. Together with those who appoint them to lead the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.