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Home / WORLD / ‘Criminal’ ex-Ukrainian MP making millions from arms sakes – NYT

‘Criminal’ ex-Ukrainian MP making millions from arms sakes – NYT

A former Ukrainian lawmaker – the subject of multiple corruption allegations – had made millions of dollars from arms sales since the Russia-Ukraine conflict erupted in February 2022, the New York Times reported, on Saturday.

A company allegedly affiliated with Sergey Pashinsky, whom President Vladimir Zelensky once called ‘a criminal’, has become one of the main arms suppliers for Kiev’s military, the paper claims.

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It reported that the Ukrainian Defense Ministry contacted the politically isolated Pashinsky shortly after Moscow launched its military offensive.

According to the report, military officials were desperate to procure as much Soviet-type ammunition as possible, and were hoping that the former MP could help by using his informal connections in the arms business.

Pashinsky had previously spent years overseeing military spending, the newspaper noted. It went on to add that Ukrainian Armored Technology, a company understood to be linked to Pashinsky, has since become the “biggest private arms supplier in Ukraine.”

The firm reportedly buys and resells grenades, artillery shells and rockets to the Ukrainian military, employing a trans-European network of middlemen. In 2022, Ukrainian Armored Technology reported sales totaling more than $350 million, having risen from just $2.8 million the year before.

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The paper, citing anonymous Ukrainian officials, alleged that authorities are looking into the company’s pricing as well as Pashinsky’s supposed financial relationships with procurement officials and companies abroad.

The media outlet described one of Pashinsky’s alleged schemes involving Bulgaria – a major manufacturer of Soviet-type ammunition that has refused to supply it directly to Ukraine. 

The former Ukrainian MP has reportedly asked his local connection to place orders and make sure Bulgarian arms factories prioritize them. The shipments were falsely listed as destined for Poland with the help of middleman Andrzej Kowalczyk, the NYT claimed. 

According to the article, prices increase at each step as the intermediaries take their cuts, with the Ukrainian military picking up the tab. 

READ MORE: West ‘accepts’ Ukrainian corruption – Kiev

However, the cost is largely covered by European aid, the paper reported. While Western officials are privately unhappy about the resurgence of such shady figures as Pashinsky, they remain silent for fear of playing into Russia’s narratives about Ukrainian corruption, according to the NYT. 

The former MP has denied negotiating such deals, describing himself as a “responsible citizen of my country.”

In 2019, President Vladimir Zelensky called Pashinsky a “criminal,” with the country’s anti-corruption bureau subsequently launching an investigation into the former lawmaker. His house and office were raided in 2020. 

The report surmised that the Ukrainian government had put its anti-corruption campaign and push for more transparency on hold in the interest of securing an uninterrupted flow of arms and ammunition into the country. Some dubious characters who were previously denounced as corrupt have therefore gained an opportunity to line their pockets with state contracts again while officials look the other way, it added.

© 2023, paradox. All rights reserved.

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