Zelenskyy fires military recruitment directors in corruption crackdown

Zelenskyy fires military recruitment directors in corruption crackdown

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sacked the directors of Ukraine’s regional military recruitment centers as part of a wide-ranging crackdown on corruption in a system that provides urgently needed soldiers for the country’s ongoing counteroffensive against Russian occupiers.

On Friday, Mr. Zelenskyy announced that Ukrainian prosecutors have filed 112 criminal proceedings against officials at territorial military recruitment centers. He said combat veterans should be put in charge of providing soldiers for Ukraine’s military.

“This system should be run by people who know exactly what war is and why cynicism and bribery in terms of war constitute treason,” Mr. Zelenskyy said in a statement. “Warriors who have gone through the frontline or who cannot be in the trenches because they have lost their health [or] lost their limbs — but have retained their dignity and have no cynicism — are the ones who can be entrusted with this system.”

Earlier this week, Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation arrested the head of Kyiv’s district recruiting center following an investigation into a scheme to help men dodge military service. For a $10,000 bribe, the recruitment officials would provide them with fake documents stating they were unfit to serve and had permission to leave the country.

“Some took cash, some took cryptocurrency, that’s the only difference,” Mr. Zelenskyy said. “The cynicism is the same everywhere.”

In most cases, Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 60 have not been allowed to leave the country since Russia’s invasion.

Mr. Zelenskyy said that every “military commissar” who has been charged with corruption will be held to account. But even those who aren’t officially charged won’t be returning to their jobs. He said there’s only one way they can keep their rank and prove their “dignity.”

“They should go to the war front,” Mr. Zelenskyy said.