Security forces Wednesday raided the home of one of Ukraine’s most prominent billionaires for opposing the former president Volodymyr Zelensky It sponsored what officials called a wartime anti-corruption purge.
The action, which took place days before a summit with the European Union, showed that Kyiv could control billions of dollars in aid from the West and tarnish its reputation as one of the world’s most corrupt nations. seem to reflect Kyiv’s determination to show
That came as Kyiv secured a huge pledge of weapons from the West in recent weeks offering new capabilities — the latest expected to be included this week. rocket from america It would almost double the range of Ukrainian forces.
Photos circulating on social media appeared to show Ihor Kolomoiskiy in a sweat suit looking in front of SBU security at his home.
The SBU said it had discovered embezzlement of more than $1 billion in Ukraine’s largest oil company Ukrnafta and its largest refiner Ukrtatnafta. Kolomoisky, who has long denied wrongdoing, held shares in both companies that Zelensky ordered the state to seize under martial law in November.
Separate raids were conducted at the tax office and at the home of Arsen Avakov, who headed the Ukrainian police as Minister of the Interior from 2014 to 2021. The SBU said it was cracking down on “those who commit acts harmful to national security in various fields” and promised to provide more details in the coming days.
“Every criminal who has the audacity to do harm Ukraineespecially in a war situation, you need to have a clear understanding of putting handcuffs on his hands, ”said Vasyl Malyuk, head of the Ukrainian security service, on the SBU Telegram channel.
Ukurtatnafta’s top management, as well as the former energy minister, former deputy defense minister and other officials, have been notified of the allegations, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Ukrainian Canadian sniper describes stubborn advance of Russians in Bakhmut
Kolomoisky, who is facing a fraud case in the United States, has been at the center of years of corruption allegations and legal disputes that Western donor countries have to settle in order for Kyiv to win aid.
Zelensky, who first rose to fame as the star of the Kolomoisky TV sitcom, has long promised to rid Ukraine of so-called oligarchs, but has been accused of failing to move decisively against his former sponsors. was facing
In a speech the night before the attack, he hinted at new anti-corruption measures in time for Friday’s summit.
“We are preparing new reforms in Ukraine. Reforms that will change social, legal and political reality in many ways, making it more humane, transparent and effective.” He promised to reveal more details soon.
Murat Uxseril / The Globe and Mail, Source: GRAPHIC NEWS
Ukrainian forces, which recaptured the area from Russian forces in late 2022, have stalled since November. Kyiv says the key to regaining the initiative is securing advanced Western weapons.
Two US officials said a new $2 billion military aid package announced this week would include for the first time a new weapon designed by Boeing, the ground-launched small caliber bomb (GLSDB).
Inexpensive glide missiles can hit targets more than 150 kilometers (90 miles) away, and the range of rockets launched by Washington’s HIMARS system last summer increased dramatically to over 80 kilometers. changed the face of war.
That would put all Russian-occupied territory in mainland Ukraine, as well as the part of Crimea that Russia occupied in 2014, within range of Kyiv forces.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the arrival of US long-range weapons would escalate the conflict.
Western countries promised many developed countries main battle tank For the first time last week, a breakthrough in aid aimed at giving Kyiv the ability to retake the occupied territories this year.
However, the arrival of new weapons is still months away, and in the meantime Russia has gathered momentum on the battlefield, announcing advances to the north and south of its main target in the coming months, the city of Bakhmut.
Kyiv has disputed many of these claims, and although Reuters was unable to independently verify the full situation, the reported locations of the fighting clearly point to Russian advances.
Troops were fighting from building to building in Bakhmut for gains of just 100 meters (yards) a night, and the city was under Russian artillery fire, said a soldier from the Ukrainian unit of Belarusian volunteers. told Reuters from the city.
The Ukrainian Chief of General Staff said late Tuesday that its troops had come under attack in the villages of Bakhmut, Kryshchievka and Kurdyumivka on the Southern Path.
South of Bakhmut, Russia this week launched a new major offensive against Vkhreda, a long-held Ukrainian fortress at the crossroads of the southern and eastern fronts. Kyiv says its troops are staying there so far.
The infusion of Western military and financial aid creates renewed pressure on Zelensky to prove his government can wipe out Ukraine.
Last week, he purged more than a dozen high-ranking officials in the biggest shake-up of the Ukrainian leadership since the invasion, following a series of scandals and corruption allegations.
Following Wednesday’s raid, David Alakamia, MP for Zelensky’s National Servants Party, wrote in Telegram: If someone is not ready for change, the nation itself will come and help them change. ”