Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired all heads of regional military recruitment centers in a sweeping move he described as a crackdown on corruption. Zelensky said the recruiters had been accused of taking bribes and illegally transporting individuals eligible for military service across the border, referring to Ukraine’s western neighbors, to avoid the draft. They should be replaced by people who know “why cynicism and bribery in times of war constitute treason,” he said.
The U.S. Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on four men who have served on the board of Alfa Group, one of Russia’s largest financial and investment giants. Russian elites “should disabuse themselves of the notion that they can operate business as usual” during the war in Ukraine, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
Earlier this month, Zelensky condemned the “revolting” practices at military recruitment centers that were uncovered during an audit, Reuters reported. He said Friday that there are 112 criminal proceedings against officials of the territorial recruitment centers. In June, Yevhen Borysov, the head of the Odessa regional draft center, was let go after Ukrainian media reported that he had “purchased property and cars worth millions of dollars on the Spanish coast” during the war. He denied the charges.
Zelensky’s mass dismissal is a part of larger efforts to root out corruption, particularly in the military. Critics have said that the campaign has not targeted officials at the highest levels and is largely a show for Western allies providing aid.
The new round of U.S. sanctions includes Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, two Russian billionaires behind Alfa Group. The two men have been fighting sanctions imposed on them by the European Union and Britain following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.
Security is “increasingly distant” for Moscow residents, who can expect “an increase in daily attacks,” Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence, said in an interview with the Kyiv Post published Friday. Russia’s Defense Ministry said Friday that a drone targeting a facility in Moscow crashed in a forest nearby, a day after they said they had intercepted two drones near the capital. While the Kremlin has blamed Kyiv for the uptick in drone attacks on Moscow, Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility.
Russia launched hypersonic missile attacks on Friday that killed an eight-year-old boy in Ivano-Frankivsk, in western Ukraine, and injured others, regional Gov. Svitlana Onyshchuk and the Ukrainian Air Force wrote on Telegram. “Doctors fought for his life, but unfortunately without success,” Onyschuk said.
The French Foreign Ministry condemned Russia’s Friday missile attacks, and said they constituted “war crimes and must not go unpunished.” The attacks “once again targeted civilian infrastructure, including a residential area, which constitutes a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law,” the statement said.
Zelensky spoke Friday with the president of Zambia about the importance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a statement from the his office said. In July, Russia withdrew from the U.N.-backed deal that allowed for the safe export of foodstuffs during the war and was considered a “lifeline” for vulnerable countries struggling with food insecurity. In Zambia, 48 percent of people are unable to meet their minimum calories requirements, according to the World Food Program.
Tensions between Ukraine and Poland over grain hint at exhaustion from war: Poland has been among Ukraine’s staunchest supporters during the war, but even among the closest of friends, serious quarrels can arise, David L. Stern and Loveday Morris write. Last week, Polish and Ukrainian officials clashed publicly after a foreign policy adviser to Polish President Andrzej Duda said that Ukraine should “start appreciating the role that Poland has played for Ukraine in recent months and years.”
The remarks come amid a growing dispute between Kyiv and Warsaw over Ukrainian grain imports, which Poland is allowed to ban to protect its farmers under a deal brokered by the European Union. The dispute has underlined the balancing act that Ukraine faces in trying to square its own needs with those of its neighbors and supporters — allies upon whom Kyiv now depends for its very existence.