Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy decried on Wednesday what he described as systematic corruption in medical exemptions to people avoiding military service, saying the system was subject to bribes and mass departures abroad.
Ukraine has made a crackdown on corruption a priority as it presses on with a counteroffensive 18 months into Russia’s invasion. Uprooting corruption is also a key element in the country’s bid to join the European Union.
Zelenskyy said the National Security and Defence Council had considered data showing the extent of false exemptions, bribe-taking and flight abroad since the February 2022 invasion. The investigation of dubious medical exemptions was still being conducted, he said.
Zelenskyy lambasted what he described as “corrupt decisions” in his nightly video address.
He said the investigation had exposed corrupt practices in different regions and by officials in different positions, involving bribes ranging from $3,000 to $15,000.