Ukrainian lawmakers draft defense transparency bill after Reuters bribery allegations

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivers his annual speech to lawmakers during a session of the Ukrainian parliament, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, December 28, 2022. Press Office of the Ukrainian President/Handout via

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s ruling party drafted legislation on Tuesday aimed at increasing transparency in defense procurement after a military food contract became the subject of high-profile corruption allegations, according to the parliament’s website.

President Volodymyr Zelensky’s team is trying to take a firm stand against bribery after a media outlet accused the Defense Ministry of overspending on food. The ministry rejected those accusations.

Anastasia Radina, head of the parliamentary committee on anti-corruption issues, said the bill would make it mandatory for the prices paid for products and services for the military to be public on the government procurement website.

Radina, a member of Zelenski’s Servant of the People party, said that the requirement would not be introduced for the purchase of weapons.

“We are obliged to ensure a level of transparency in procurement for the military, under which such an affair simply will not exist. Can it be done in a way that does not expose buyers and suppliers to additional risks? Yes,” she said.

Last year, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the country’s defense spending was about 32.5% of gross domestic product, according to Oleksiy Danylov, head of the Security Council.

The law has been sent to parliament for debate and would need to be approved in three votes before Zelenskyi signs it into law.

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