Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensk speaks with press at the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen, Denmark, 21 August 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/Ida Marie Odgaard DENMARK OUT

Zelenskyy orders probe into ‘corrupt’ medical exemptions from military service

Madrid, Aug 31 (EFE).- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered a probe into medical exemptions from service in the military issued since the start of the war against Russia after an official investigation revealed that they had multiplied tenfold in some regions.

Bribes paid to obtain these exemptions on disability and unfitness for military service range from $3,000 to $15,000, according to the Ukrainian president.

“We are talking about at least thousands of people,” Zelenskyy said in his address to the nation late Wednesday.

The president also announced that the cases of those who used these certificates to leave the country will be investigated separately.

“It is necessary to check a significant number of decisions of the military medical commissions on disability and unfitness for military service that were made after February 24″ when the Russian invasion began, Zelenskyy said.

The Ukrainian president said that statistics from the official investigation into corruption in the recruitment process showed that there are regions of the country where the number of people exempted from military service on medical grounds had increased tenfold.

“It is absolutely clear what these decisions are. Corrupt decisions,” he added.

On Aug. 11, Zelenskyy dismissed all the heads of regional military recruitment centers and ordered them to be replaced by soldiers who had fought in the war or been wounded in combat.

He also issued an order to identify and punish all cases of corruption after the recruitment commissioner of the Odessa region was found to have bought property in Spain through his family members during the war.

Ukraine’s secret service has already arrested several people suspected of taking bribes to issue certificates to those wanting to avoid being called up for military service or to travel abroad. EFE