Zelensky complains of corruption in army medical examinations
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday criticized the medical examinations of the Ukrainian army, which he says falls prey to “systematic” corruption. Civilians widely avoid military service by paying bribes or leaving for foreign countries.
Ukraine has recently intensified its anti-corruption campaign, while the country’s armed forces launch a counter-offensive to reclaim territory controlled by Russia. The fight against corruption is an important factor in Ukraine’s attempts to join the European Union.
According to Zelensky, the National Security and Defense Council is analyzing information about fake medical exemptions, kickbacks and departures of conscripts abroad. Investigations are still ongoing.
“There are examples of regions where the number of exemptions from military service due to the decisions of the Medical Commission has increased tenfold since February of last year,” Zelensky said in his daily evening video address.
The president added, “It is completely clear what kind of decisions these are. Corrupt decisions.”
According to the president, the matter concerns bribes ranging between 2,750 and 13,750 euros, paid to officials in different positions in different regions. There should also be a separate analysis of how many people have left Ukraine thanks to medical exemptions.
“We are talking about at least thousands of individuals,” Zelensky said.
After all, the president said that more than 100 criminal investigations had been opened in the wake of a corruption scandal last month at an army recruitment center in the city of Odessa.
Russia announces a new air strike on the Crimean Peninsula
The Russians announced that air defenses in the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed, shot down a Ukrainian missile on Wednesday evening. Both local Russian governor Sergei Aksyonov and the Ministry of Defense in Moscow reported the incident.
An aide to Aksyonov said debris from the missile hit a power line near Feodosia on the eastern coast of Crimea.
The Russian military also reported that two military drones were intercepted over Russia, near Bryansk near the border with Ukraine.
Russian statements cannot be independently verified.
Six people were killed in the crash of two Ukrainian army helicopters
Six soldiers were killed after two Ukrainian army helicopters crashed. This was announced by a Ukrainian Air Force spokesman on Wednesday. It remains unclear why the two Mi-8 helicopters crashed near Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine.
The cause of the accident is being investigated. According to military sources, the helicopters were on a mission on Tuesday, but it was not possible to shoot them down.
Poland forms a controversial committee to investigate “Russian influence”
Poland’s ruling parties agreed on Wednesday to form a controversial commission to investigate alleged Russian influence. The opposition boycotted the vote and spoke of an “illegitimate” and “unconstitutional” committee.
The law that created this committee was enacted in early August by President Andrzej Duda. The text states that the committee can determine whether someone is acting “under Russian influence.”
But the main goal, according to the opposition, is to discredit political rivals to the conservative right-wing government in Poland, such as former liberal Prime Minister Donald Tusk (2007-2014), in light of the parliamentary elections that will be held in Poland. Poland later this year.
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