A bizarre potential scandal is unfolding in Kyiv as recent revelations have exposed a number of peculiar purchases provided to the city's bomb shelters.

 The Dniprovsky District State Administration bought vegetable slicers, state-of-the-art frying pans and leather drums for shelters in educational institutions, at a cost of over Hr. 3.5 million ($93,500)

This became evident after examination of data from the Prozorro procurement system. This scheme was introduced in 2016 and is designed to ensure the transparency, accountability and efficiency of state procurement.

According to Leonid Yemets, a deputy of the Kyiv Council, among the purchases, the Department of Education of the Dniprovsky District State Administration in Kyiv purchased 12 professional vegetable slicers for the price of Hr. 130 thousand ($3500) each.

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"When we found a tender for the purchase of electric vegetable cutters for 130 thousand hryvnias each in the shelter, I thought nothing could surprise me anymore," Yemets writes.

According to the Prozorro service, these vegetable cutters were labelled as "sets of food processing equipment for use in shelters."

The tender called for 12 Robot Coupe CL50 vegetable cutters, amounting to a total of more than 1.5 million hryvnias ($41,000).  Each vegetable cutter, equipped with various attachments, could cut vegetables into strips and cubes and even create French fries and mashed potatoes.

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Artem Shylo, who had also worked for the SBU, is being held for two months on Hr.30 million ($770,000) bail.

In the same Dniprovsky District of Kyiv, the sum of Hr. 720 thousand ($19,000) was allocated for the purchase an electric pan for a shelter within one of the school shelters.

Lysak commented: "A super electric frying pan with a touchscreen at a price of Hr. 720 thousand, would be too much for a Michelin starred restaurant, let alone a shelter in the Dniprovsky district!"

Described as capable of cooking various delicacies simultaneously at different temperatures using a set of programmed recipes, this overpriced frying pan raised questions about its necessity in an emergency bomb shelter, particularly at a school. 

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Also found in the shelter procurement system was a bill for 300 leather drums. Priced at nearly Hr. 1 million ($27,000), the drums were listed as "musical instruments for the psychological relief of children during air alarms." 

Made from genuine leather and accompanied by sticks, this acquisition, attributed once again to the Dniprovsky District State Administration, has left many scratching their heads.

Ukrainian MP, Yaroslav Zheleznyak, told Kyiv Post: “While I appreciate the officials' decision to sponsor drummers for the Metallica band, it appears that yet another corrupt scheme has been created. 

Now, the witch hunt will begin. 'Servants of the People,' [Zelensky's political party] will likely accuse Klitschko, while Poroshenko's [former President of Ukraine] supporters will attempt to shift the blame to Zelensky.” 

Kyiv Post approached Dniprovsky District State Administration for comment but after being redirected to the Department of Education, via the Department of Information Policy, no one was available to provide a comment.

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As the public awaits further explanations, Ukrainians actively joke about these weird purchases on social media.

https://twitter.com/1986_ivankiv/status/1669075060831690752

Today!! In all shelters of the capital!

In Kyiv, 306 leather drums were bought for 882 thousand hryvnias: "For the psychological relief of children in shelters during air raids." Restaurant vegetable cutters, here it is clear, banal corruption on the price. But how did you come up with the idea to buy DRUMS? Like, the guys brainstormed: "what calms children the most?". Have you analyzed lists and studies about how certain sounds affect children? And found the top 10 in the list, DRUMS?!

Why leather drums…. What to do with them ((( ? They should've purchased hookahs or prosecco. At least we would have something to do in the shelters.

According to the Ukrainian MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak, the situation is no laughing matter even if many find it funny. He said these companies have been providing this and other utterly nonsensical equipment to multiple District State Administrations in Kyiv for a significant period of time.

“While I appreciate the officials' decision to sponsor drummers for the Metallica band, it appears that yet another corrupt scheme has been created," Zheleznyak said.

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Comments (4)

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Cedar
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It’s heartening that this is being publicised & reflected upon in Ukraine. The Soviet system left a legacy of entrenched corruption, so it’s good to read that Zelensky created this transparency & accountability department back in 2016. Things are moving in the right direction. But progress has to be visible if Ukraine wants to join western groups & hopes for more aid. Not that we in the West have totally incorruptible politicians, but they are not the norm & dishonesty is usually punished.

Cedar
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@Cedar,
Error - I typed before I thought. Zelensky was of course not in power in 2016, so although he works against corruption, it was not his initiative originally.

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MJ
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Who would of thought, next they'll be saying that companies will be hiring unqualified people with absolutly no experience to run energy companies, as long as their father donates a billion dollars.

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Peter
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Unfortunately when people in other countries (such as Canada where I am from) read this we get nervous about the end result of all the money and hardware we are sending. I have personally donated funds to Ukraine to support the war but if it ends up being channeled to scammers through a corrupt system then I might think twice the next time I donate.

dave
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@Peter, At this point, if you are interested in donating to Ukraine, I would encourage you to donate to independent investigative journalism and anti-corruption organizations.

Corruption has been a significant issue in Ukraine for 35 years. The rapid inflow of aid and reconstruction always brings out the worst in people.

Free and transparent media that is willing to investigate and publish about such corruption is the only way to solve the problem.

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Evelyn
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What kind of insanity is this?

dave
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@Evelyn, This is the kind of insanity that happens when aid of any sort rapidly flows into a country with little to no oversight.

As one looks at the military conflicts over the last fifty years, it is interesting to note which countries went on to become successful nation-states and which continued on as failed states with different leadership.

The single biggest difference between the two outcomes is the ability to reduce corruption to a manageable level through a steady stream of long-term reforms.

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