Ukraine Slaps Corruption Charges On Ex-Politician Who Played Major Role In Arms Procurement

(Photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via Getty Images)

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Jake Smith Contributor
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Ukrainian authorities arrested a prominent ex-politician who played a key role in securing arms for Kyiv on corruption charges in February, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Serhiy Pashinsky, a former senior parliamentary member and major arms procurer for Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia, faces charges for defrauding Kyiv out of $25 million in a fuel-buying embezzlement scheme, according to NYT. Pashinsky’s arrest underscores a deep-rooted corruption problem in Kyiv that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has struggled to solve amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans Introduce Legislation To Prevent Ukraine From Stealing US Taxpayer Dollars)

The charges that Pashinsky and five other men face for defrauding the government are not related to arms procurement, according to NYT. He has denied the charges.

Pashinsky has spent much of his political career fending off corruption and scandal allegations, according to NYT. “

Go out on the streets and ask whether Pashinsky is a criminal. I guarantee you that out of 100 people, 100 will say that he is a criminal,” Zelenskyy said on national television in 2019.

But when war broke out between Ukraine and Russia in 2022, Pashinsky became a key asset to Kyiv; Ukrainian Armored Technology, a company tied to Pashinsky, became the largest private supplier of arms in Ukraine, according to NYT. Kyiv opened an investigation into Ukrainian Armored Technology last year but has continued to buy weapons from the company regardless.

The Anti-Corruption Court set a bail of over $7 million for Pashinsky following his arrest in early February; he later said in a statement that various arms companies had posted his bail.

“I am deeply ashamed that funds meant for weapon production were used as bail for me on false charges,” Pashinsky said in a statement. He declined to comment when contacted by a reporter, telling them to “call after the war,” according to NYT.

Ukrainian officials have been fired or arrested for corrupt practices since the war started; in one instance, officials stole roughly $40 million meant for weapons procurement in a scheme discovered in December 2023.

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