Ukraine war: Zelenskyy condemns corruption, UK slammed for Wagner ignorance, US spy drones

Zelenskyy vows to crackdown on corruption

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday he would take a zero-tolerance approach to corruption, as the country struggles to fend off Russia’s grinding invasion. 

He denounced “the betrayal” of deputy Yuri Aristov, spotted at a five-star luxury hotel in the Maldives in July – enraging ordinary Ukrainians. 

In his nightly address, the Ukranian president alluded to Aristov’s opulent vacation, saying it was a “betrayal” during a time of war. 

“Any internal betrayal… or any personal enrichment instead of [defending) the interests of Ukraine will provoke at least rage”, he hammered in the speech. 

“You must work in Ukraine and for the interests of the Ukrainian people,” he said to deputies, civil servants and other state agents.

Corruption is a deep-seated evil in Ukraine. Kyiv wants to show it is taking serious steps to curb the problem, fearing it could hamper Western military assistance and its eventual bid to join the EU. 

UK criticised for ignorance about Wagner in Africa

The UK government has been slammed by its Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) for underestimating the dangerous growth of the Russian Wagner mercenary group. 

In a scathing report, the group of MPs – from across the political spectrum – said the government had “a dismal lack of understanding” about Wagner’s activities on the African continent. 

The report listed seven states where the mercenary group has been detected: Ukraine, Syria, the Central African Republic (CAR), Sudan, Libya, Mozambique and Mali.

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch accused Wagner and the Malian armed forces of executing civilians, forcibly disappearances, torture and looting. 

Wagner, headed by the infamous Yevgeny Prigozhin, has been involved in shady business on the African continent for years. 

It has accrued a massive fortune “protecting weak African regimes in exchange for their gold mines”, Mark Beissinger, Professor of Politics at Princeton University, told Euronews back in March. 

This is mostly at the expense of the local population.

Around 3000-10,000 mercenary fighters recently set up in Belarus, suggesting they could make a cross-border raid into Poland, a NATO state. 

Washington announces new military aid – including spy drones

The United States announced on Tuesday a new tranche of military aid for Ukraine amounting to 360 million euros. 

The package will include Patriot air defence systems, HIMARS rocket launchers, Stinger missiles, artillery ammunition, armoured vehicles and other equipment from US stockpiles, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defense.

Black Hornet surveillance drones will also be given for the first time. 

The support will “strengthen the courageous Ukrainian forces on the battlefield” and “help them retake territories” occupied by Russian forces, said top US diplomat Antony Blinken in a press release. 

The new package of aid comes amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive, which is trying to dislodge Russian forces in the east and south. 

Since the start of the war in February 2022, the US has provided more than 39 billion euros in military aid to Kyiv.

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