(Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday decried “revolting” practices exposed during an audit of Ukraine’s military recruitment centres and pledged to fix the system by placing in charge people who understood the meaning of war.
Zelenskiy has expressed indignation at corruption uncovered during the audit last month after a high-profile incident of wrongdoing came to light in the Black Sea port of Odesa.
“We had a detailed conversation,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address after meeting Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko and the head of the SBU security service, Vasyl Maliuk.
“The investigation is revealing numerous abuses,” Zelenskiy said. “And they are frankly revolting.”
The probe of recruitment offices is part of a long-running campaign to root out corruption, a critical issue as Ukraine presses a campaign to join NATO and the European Union.
Zelenskiy said all the findings of the investigation would be made public and subject to criminal proceedings.
“The conclusion is clear: the recruitment system needs people who understand the value of protecting Ukraine,” he said.
“Recruitment centres must be staffed with people who have seen the war, experienced it,” he added. “And those who, sadly, may have lost limbs but not their dignity and not Ukraine. Let me thank them.”
The head of a military recruitment centre in Odesa accused of corruption and embezzlement was ordered held in pre-trial detention last month.
The official stood accused of acquiring without explanation funds equivalent to a little more than $5 million. Ukrainian media reports said his family had acquired property in Spain.
(Reporting by Ron Popeski. Editing by Gerry Doyle)