Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov has resigned amid a scandal related to the purchase of food products for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the ministry’s press service reported on Jan. 24.
He said his decision was motivated by the desire to remove threats to the stable provision of the army, which has said had arisen due to a “campaign of allegations” against him.
The ministry press service said Shapovalov’s resignation would preserve the trust of Ukrainian society and the country’s international partners, and“ensure objectivity during additional clarifications and possible investigations.”
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov supported Shapovalov’s resignation and submitted the relevant motion to the Cabinet of Ministers.
On Jan. 21, the founder of the Nashi Hroshi (Our Money) investigation project, Yuriy Nikolov, said in an article published on ZN.ua that the Defense Ministry purchases food products for military personnel at prices two to three times more expensive compared to the prices in Kyiv stores.
In particular, he compared certain items with the prices in the capital’s Silpo supermarket. The journalist refers to documents received from a “source in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”
Minister Reznikov called the scandal an attempt to undermine trust in the department’s leadership.
The President’s Office has announced an inspection. The ministry also promises to conduct an internal audit and is preparing materials for the SBU security service to conduct an investigation into “deliberately false information that harms the interests of defense in a special period.”
In turn, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine reported that its agents, together with the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, were investigating possible abuses by the Defense Ministry during the purchase of food products for the military.
The investigators are checking purchases worth more than UAH 13 billion ($355.5 million).
The supplier company, Aktyv, with which the Defense Ministry had concluded a contract and which Nikolov in his material suggested was most likely an intermediary company profiting off the supply of food to the army, has declared the reports to be “deliberate manipulation.”