Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense is coming under pressure because of yet another procurement scandal, this time related to the inflated price of an order of jackets from Turkey. Previous scandals saw Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov vowing to address the issue.

On Aug. 10, Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Nikolov, citing sources at the State Customs Service of Ukraine, reported that the Defense Ministry had acquired 233,000 winter jackets for $20 million from a Turkish firm.

Documentation from customs regarding one shipment unveiled a startling increase in cost for a batch of 4,900 jackets en route from Turkey to Ukraine. The price had tripled, soaring from $142,000 to $421,000 (a per-unit rise from $29 to $86).

Furthermore, it was revealed that the jackets, despite being marketed as winter wear, turned out to be lightweight.

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“Autumn is coming, and this is indeed a mess. The Ukrainians haven’t made any jackets. So back in the summer, these folks said they would bring us some Turkish crap,” Yuriy Nikolov said in an interview with Ukrainska Pravda, made in the framework of the broader investigation into this matter.

“Loads of cars arrived from Turkey, full of these jackets, which cost $28 when they left Turkey and $86 when they arrived. I’ve seen how these invoices changed along the way. The first invoice says ‘camouflage jacket,’ and the last one – priced for $86 – says ‘winter jacket,’” he added.

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Who was in charge of the procurements?

According to the information from the Ukrainska Pravda investigation, the jackets were supplied by a Turkish company named Vector Avia. Its current owner and director is Roman Pletnov from Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.

However, up until February 2023, a co-owner of the company was a 26-year-old handball player named Oleksandr Kasay. He is the nephew of Hennadiy Kasay, a Member of Parliament from the Servant of the People party and a member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence.

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The Kasay family has had longstanding connections with Vyacheslav Bohuslaev, the former owner of Motor Sich, the leading Ukrainian aircraft engine manufacturer, who was arrested for deliberately blocking the supply of an MI-2 helicopter to the Ukrainian Defense Intelligence last year at the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Is this company newly engaged in providing military supplies?

No, a similar instance occurred in October 2022. The jackets were transported along the route from Turkey to Moldova and then to Ukraine. Customs officials flagged a notable price increase, where the jackets left Turkey for Moldova at one cost but became significantly more expensive on the journey from Moldova to Ukraine.

During this incident, customs officers discovered two distinct documents for the identical product in the possession of the truck driver. In one instance, the product was valued at $367,500, while in the other, it was priced at $27,500.

Roman Pletnov, the sole current owner and director of the company, has already come under suspicion. A precautionary measure of detention was imposed on him as per the court’s ruling in April 2023 concerning this matter.

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So, is the Ministry of Defense still collaborating with his company?

Yes, given the latest case with the procurements, it seems as if it is still working together.

Was there any reaction from the people involved?

The lawmaker Hennadiy Kasay, the uncle of Vector Avia’s former head Oleksandr Kasay, reportedly had no prior knowledge of his nephew’s business endeavors.

Furthermore, Hennadiy Kasay stated that he was unaware of the circumstances surrounding Oleksandr Kasay’s involvement as a co-founder or the source of his funding. The sudden departure of Oleksandr from the company in February 2023 was allegedly not explained to the uncle either.

Hennadiy Kasay emphasized that he had no ties with the company responsible for providing Turkish jackets to the Ministry of Defense. He also denied any claims of a conflict of interest stemming from his nephew’s involvement in supplying these jackets, despite his affiliation with the defense committee.

How did the Ministry of Defense react?

On Friday, Aug. 25, Ukrainian Defense Minister Reznikov said that if allegations regarding the procurement of summer jackets instead of winter ones are factual, he would tender his resignation.

“I’d like to propose a wager. Should it come to light that the Ministry of Defense did indeed supply 180,000 summer jackets rather than winter attire, I, Oleksiy Reznikov, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, will formally submit my letter of resignation,” he conveyed in a statement to NV.

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Conversely, Reznikov, proposed that lawmaker Anastasia Rodina should relinquish her mandate and journalist Mykhailo Tkach of Ukrainska Pravda should abstain from his journalistic endeavors for a span of three years, should Reznikov win.

As of now, both Rodina and Tkach have yet to respond to the minister’s proposition.

While addressing the controversy to LIGA.net, Reznikov mentioned that the entire imbroglio came from a complication involving the Turkish side. It is purported that there was a discrepancy in pricing on their end.

According to Reznikov, the Ministry of Defense procured 180,000 winter jackets from Turkey last year, each costing $86.

“Each jacket was priced at $86. I am uncertain about the source of the $29 per winter jacket in the Turkish documents. This may relate to potential tax irregularities in Turkey,” Reznikov said.

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Comments (5)

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Ant
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Russian corruption, incest and necrophilia runs deep...

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Piotr
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Your biggest war will be the fight against corruption. It's to break away from this Russian system and corruption, where things are done for something, where you establish power through it and work to the detriment of your own people. This is the Russian system that we in Poland have also fought and continue to fight against. I wish you with all my heart good luck in winning the war, against the enemy and against corruption.

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Maria
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So pleased to see the Ukrainian leadership actively rooting out and pursuing corruption and graft. Russia is built on embezzlement; that's why Putin is considered one of the world's most wealthiest men. Will never understand why Russians allow this let alone follow people like this.

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James
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Can't believe there are still corrupt people during this war. People have no conscience

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Ove Olsen
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Heads have to roll. This is sick! They are working for the invader!

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