Ukraine Money Train: Kyiv Spending $100 Million Per Day on War, Says Ousted Defence Minister

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA - JULY 12: Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky (R) speaks at the ann
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Ukraine is spending approximately $100 million a day on the war against Russia, outgoing Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in an interview with state media.

In a lengthy sit-down with state-owned Ukrinform for his first interview since his ousting on Sunday, the former defence minister attempted to dispel suggestions of his involvement in the mounting corruption scandals swirling around the war effort.

When pressed on the allocation of money donated by the public to the military since Russia’s invasion, Reznikov said that such donations have been minimal in comparison to foreign funding and taxation, claiming that only 3 per cent of the war has been subsidised by public donations.

Then, in perhaps the most candid look into the allocation of resources since the war began, the ex-defence minister said that around $100 million is being spent by the state on the conflict every day.

“A day of war costs us 100 million dollars,” he said. “The army today is the largest consumer of funds. But funds are also needed for the maintenance of the country as a whole: for infrastructure, for reconstruction, for supporting the socially vulnerable.”

Reznikov credited the working citizens of Ukraine for propping up the military budget “because they pay taxes and these taxes go to the budget, and from this budget, they also go to the army. Therefore, you have to work and pay taxes.”

However, he did not reveal how much of the daily 100 million spent on the war came from the Ukrainian people as opposed to being subsidised by taxpayers in the United States and Europe.

The interview came after President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed Reznikov after previously leading the country’s war effort for over 550 days. Although the minister has not been personally linked to any corruption, the sacking has been seen in some quarters as an attempt to root out graft and war profiteering.

The Defence Ministry has been rocked by a series of corruption scandals since the start of the year, including allegations of overpaying for military food items such as eggs, and winter jackets. Last month, all the heads of regional recruitment offices throughout Ukraine were sacked over allegations of bribery of officials from men seeking to avoid being sent into battle against the Russians.

On Monday, in a surprisingly candid article, the New York Times cited unnamed Ukrainian officials who revealed that money intended for military contracts in Ukraine “vanished” during the early days of the conflict.

In the interview with Ukrinform, Reznikov claimed that the issue of corruption was being weaponised by political rivals in the country, claiming that he and some of his deputies may have been targeted for their roles in confronting monopolies of powerful oligarchs. The former defence minister went on to allege that some corruption allegations are being spread by Russians in order to sow dissent within their ranks.

Reznikov specifically denied allegations of overspending on eggs and military jackets and claimed that lawsuits have been launched against those who made the claims for allegedly defaming the defence department.

Nevertheless, the focus on corruption in Ukraine — which has consistently ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world since gaining independence from the Soviet Union — may yet call into question the soundness of pouring billions more of Western taxpayers’ money into the proxy war.

On top of the $113 billion committed by the Biden administration to Ukraine since last year, the White House is currently lobbying for an additional $24 billion in aid to the country.

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