Internal corruption and Russian aggression: Ukraine’s two-front war

Lane Johansen
October 11, 2021

Between October 3rd and 9th, the Joint Forces Operation reported that Russian-backed occupation troops committed 42 ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine. As a result, 2 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded. On October 8th, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine reported the placement of almost 300 units of Russian military equipment within the line of withdrawal near the settlement of Bugayevka.

This past week, Ukraine’s Third Special Operations Regiment successfully passed the NATO evaluation test, making it the second Ukrainian military unit to be certified as eligible for deployment as part of the NATO Response Force. The regiment said in a statement on October 7th that “joining NATO Response Force standby duty is a huge step forward for the Ukrainian military in terms of shedding the old system and for a new establishment, new opportunities and standards.

Six public figures have stepped up as “mentors” for six Crimean citizen journalists who were imprisoned for political reasons. These illegally imprisoned Crimean Tatars – Amet Suleymanov, Server Mustafayev, Rustem Sheikhaliyev, Marlen Asanov, Remzi Bekirov, and Osman Arifmemetov – are supported by Italian political scientist Antonio Stango; Polish MEP Anna Fotyga; German politician Ruprecht Polenz; Deputy Marshal of the Sejm of Poland Małgorzata Gosiewska; former US ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor; and American political scientist Francis Fukuyama, respectively. The mentors have undertaken to advocate for the Crimean prisoners in the public arena.

Meanwhile, the recent release of the Pandora Papers highlights the state of Ukraine’s internal war on corruption. The Pandora Papers – 11.9 million leaked documents that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) started publishing on October 3rd – revealed the widespread use of offshore schemes by some of the most powerful people in the world to hide their wealth. Ukraine tops the list with 38 people named, including President Volodymyr Zelensky and his inner circle, which has greatly undermined the public image of Zelensky, who vowed to take down oligarchs.