Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reformed its procurement architecture in line with Nato standards, according to the nation’s acting director of the Procurement Policy Department, Hlib Kanievskyi.

Unveiled to represenatives of the Nato Support and Procurement Agency, which took place at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Kanievskyi revealed that “the Ministry retained only a fraction of policy development, i.e. establishing rules and quality control.”

The functions under the centralised structure enabled potential corruption, Kanievskyi observed.

Ukraine has long been under scrutiny for corruption at various levels of Government. While the nation fights an existential war against invading Russian forces bent on subduing their sovereignty, the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has instituted major reforms to curtail the self-inflicting threat from within.

As part of the country’s security co-operation arrangements with global allies – including Canada, Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands in recent weeks – they all acknolwedged that Ukraine’s future integration within the Euro-Atlantic community depends “on [these] continued reforms regarding good governance, anti-corruption, transparency and modernisation of the defence sector.”

To eliminate such risk, Ukraine’s newly decentralised procurement structure will hand over direct purchasing responsibility to two agencies: Lethal and Non-lethal defence acquisition.

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The Non-lethal agency has already entered the auction through the Prozorro system – Ukraine’s public electronic procurement system – and purchases clothing, body armour, helmets, fuel and lubricants for systems used across the Armed Forces.

Weapons and ammunition are purchased by the Lethal agency. Recently, it announced for the first time the purchase of 20,000 uncrewed aerial systems with a total expected cost of almost 3bn hryvnias ($78.6m) (excluding VAT) through the Prozorro system.

Quashing corruption

To increase oversight over the two agencies’ activities, the MoD initiated the establishment of supervisory boards within both.

The Lethal Defence Acquisition Agency has announced the selection of a recruiting company that will help select independent supervisory board members.

Its responsibilities will include developing an anti-corruption policy, as well as appointing and terminating the powers of the head of the internal audit unit. Preparations are being made for the start of the selection of the recruiting company for the Non-lethal Defence Acquisition Agency, Kanevskyi noted.

In addition to the meeting with Nato Support and Procurement, MoD representatives held meetings devoted to the topics ‘Ukraine-Nato Council’ (with the Nato Operations Department), ‘Civilian Oversight of the Army’ (with the Nato International Military Headquarters), ‘US Priorities for Nato’ (with the US Permanent Representative to Nato).