Nearly four years into a grinding war against rebels armed by Russia, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry proudly announced last month that it had improved its previously meager medical services for its wounded troops with the purchase and delivery of 100 new military ambulances.And the war on drugs in the United States:
Not mentioned, however, was that many of the ambulances had already broken down. Or that they had been sold to the military under a no-bid contract by an auto company owned by a senior official in charge of procurement for Ukraine’s armed forces. Or that the official, Oleg Gladkovskyi, is an old friend and business partner of Ukraine’s president, Petro O. Poroshenko.
Ukraine’s spending on defense and security has soared since the conflict in the east started in 2014, rising from around 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product in 2013 to more than 5 percent this year, when it will total around $6 billion.
This bonanza, which will push procurement spending in 2018 to more than $700 million, has enabled Ukraine to rebuild its dilapidated military and fight to a standstill pro-Russian rebels and their heavily armed Russian backers.
But by pumping so much money through the hands of Ukrainian officials and businessmen — often the same people — the surge in military spending has also held back efforts to defeat the corruption and self-dealing that many see as Ukraine’s most dangerous enemy.
.The narcotics officers from the 83rd Precinct didn’t get much when they set up outside the J & C Mini Market on Irving Avenue in Brooklyn on an autumn afternoon four years ago.Government power centers need to be shut down.
Moving in on what seemed to be a crack deal, they seized two packets, which turned out to contain little more than a residue of the drug. Two men — said to be the buyer and the seller — were arrested, but the charges against one of the men were eventually dismissed.
What the officers did get that day was more than 20 hours in overtime for hauling in and processing the men. Collectively, court papers say, they earned as much as $1,400 in extra pay.
On Tuesday, four of the officers involved in the arrests will appear in Federal District Court in Brooklyn for the start of an unusual civil-rights trial, facing accusations that they detained one of the men, Hector Cordero, simply to increase their income.