Ukrainian intelligence suspects former Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov of embezzling nearly a billion hryvnias (nearly $28 million) during the procurement of winter military uniforms.

While the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) did not name him,

Kyiv Post sources within law enforcement identified Vyacheslav Shapovalov as the individual suspected in the corruption scheme.

Shapovalov served in his position from 2021 to 2023 and was responsible for the rear support of the armed forces and his alleged accomplice, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, the former head of the procurement department of the Ministry of Defense, are in custody and could face up to 12 years in prison, with the possibility of property confiscation.

Shapovalov and Khmelnytsky are suspected of purchasing “winter” uniforms from a Turkish firm that turned out to be designed for summer.

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“The specified uniform is unsuitable for use by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) in the cold season during intense combat operations,” an SBU statement reads.

The investigations also discovered the listed price on the invoice for the uniform was changed along the route, rising from $28 per unit when it left Turkey to $86 when it reached Ukraine.

From sources within law enforcement agencies, on Oct. 11 Kyiv Post had reported that the two suspects were under arrest under suspicion of embezzling $7 million earmarked for buying bulletproof vests. They were accused of buying “low-quality body armor.”

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The State Bureau of Investigation (DBR) stated that at that time a full advance payment was made during the purchase – and the established procedure for monitoring the quality of the goods – as defined by the Ministry of Defense's instruction, was violated.

According to the DBR, not only was Shapovalov aware of the substandard products, but he also pressured his subordinates to accept them and organized repeat inspections of armor plates when they failed initial quality tests.

But before the winter uniform and bulletproof vests cases, the two were under suspicion in other corruption scandals.

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At the end of January, a media scandal erupted following a journalistic investigation alleging that Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense was purchasing food for the AFU at inflated prices, ranging from two to three times the standard rates.

Shapovalov announced his resignation on Jan. 24, which was followed by the dismissal of Khmelnytsky from his position on Jan. 25.

In early February, the Pecherskyi Court of Kyiv detained Shapovalov for two months, with a bail set at Hr.402.6 million ($11.2 million). He has remained in pre-trial detention since then.

On Oct. 9, the Shevchenkivskiy District Court extended his arrest until Nov. 1, but reduced the bail amount to Hr.50 million ($1.4 million).

Shapovalov's legal team had appealed for his release, citing his inability to pay the bail, given his annual income of Hr.375,000 ($10,400).

Shapovalov has called the allegations “baseless and unfounded.”

In a letter addressed to President Volodymyr Zelensky, written in July, the former official said that he had fulfilled his assigned tasks.

“I often recall the third night after the onset of the full-scale invasion, when you summoned me for a meeting to discuss the provision of the army. At that time, there were inadequate stocks of helmets and body armor in the warehouses, and insufficient uniforms,” Shapovalov wrote.

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“You personally instructed me, Mr. President, that every possible measure must be taken to ensure that the Armed Forces receive the necessary equipment, with the promise that we would resolve any issues at a later time,” he wrote.

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Comments ( 1)

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Duarte Simões
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To a certain extent I can understand, although never approve, the temptation of gaining some money in military contracts, but never risking the soldiers's lifes or welfare. This is absolutely heinous, thinking that the UAF is freezing to death or have incapable vests while these people earn fortunes. As an example, because of the harm they did to the Ukrainian cause and because they deserve, I hope they remain in jail for the rest of their lifes and be stripped of their Ukrainian Citizenship.

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