Ukraine investigates two defense officials in fraud case involving Turkish firm

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Ukrainian prosecutors announced Monday they had formally notified two senior defense officials that they are suspects in a large-scale fraud case involving the purchase of military uniforms from a Turkish firm.

Ukraine has been fighting an uphill battle against systemic corruption as part of reforms urged by the West for membership to institutions like the European Union.

Prosecutors said they had informed a former deputy defense minister and his subordinate that they were being investigated for the “embezzlement of state funds and obstruction of the lawful activities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

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The nearly $28-million-case centres around the procurement of winter uniforms from a Turkish company, which Ukrainian journalists have linked to a member of President Volodymyr Zelensky's party.

Prosecutors said the officials were responsible for the improper testing of “low quality” uniforms, including jackets and boots that did not meet technical requirements.

Former Ukrainian defense minister Oleksii Reznikov in August rejected allegations that uniforms had been bought for inflated prices. The defense ministry had previously come under fire over a food procurement scandal.

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