According to investigators, funds worth millions for the purchase of protective vests for the Ukrainian army would have been embezzled. Ukraine’s State Investigation Department estimated the damage on Thursday at 250 million hryvnia (nearly 70 million euros). The suspicion is directed against the former manager of the patent authority Ukrpatent, a senior official at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and head of an aid organization.
According to information in Kyiv, the state money would have been transferred to the accounts of a voluntary organization – with the alleged order to buy bulletproof vests for the soldiers. Instead, the money was transferred through shell companies and converted into cash. Thus, it fell into the hands of the accused. They face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
Despite improvements in recent years, the Ukrainian state apparatus still has a reputation for being prone to corruption. At the same time, a highly engaged civil society is helping the country attacked by Russia to survive. Thousands of volunteers not only help refugees and neighbors who have been bombed. They also collect cash and in-kind donations, from sleeping bags to bulletproof vests and army vehicles.