Reznikov suggested that criticism of his work by anti-corruption activist Shabunin could be a personal revenge

Sofiia Telishevska

In an interview with Babel, the Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov suggested that the head of the Anti-Corruption Center Vitaliy Shabunin may personally take revenge on him for transferring him from the Ministry of Defense back to Territorial Defense Forces (TDF).

Reznikov believes that the main reason for the story with his "resignation" was the demonopolization of the armyʼs food system.

"When I came to this position and started to understand basic things, I found out that for three years in a row the army was fed by one company. This is very dangerous, it could go bankrupt, it could be bought by the Russians, or something else. The first task I set was demonopolization. And it was not easy, there were attempts to prevent it — from political to semi-gangster. But we succeeded, and in 2022 we fed the army. At first there were five companies, and now there are eight. There were many dissatisfied people, and the start was just somewhere from there, and then various beneficiaries already picked up," explained Reznikov.

The minister further suggested that Vitaliy Shabunin has a personal dislike for him, because he tried to hide in the structure of the Ministry of Defense during the war, but he was sent back to Territorial Defense Forces.

"Iʼm not Mona Lisa and I canʼt please everyone. There are people whom I call "numerous". Those who, against the background of a political anti-corruption career, wake up and go to sleep with my name," the Minister of Defense noted.

"Are you alluding to Vitaly Shabunin?" clarified the journalist.

"For one serviceman of the Territorial Defense Forces, a driver. Who in some strange way came up with a business trip to the Ministry of Defense and hid in the Innovation Center of the Ministry of Defense, where he continued his career as a fighter. When it was found out, he was sent back to Teroboron to serve. This is his revenge on me personally, he made a post on Facebook where he says goodbye to his brothers and sisters, because he is in a heavy cauldron, but in fact he is in a warm and safe place," Reznikov answered.

"Babel" also turned to Shabunin for a comment on this matter.

According to him, on February 25, 2022, he really joined the Territorial Defense Forces of Kyiv. After the end of the Kyiv operation, he issued a business trip to the Innovation Center of the Ministry of Defense. Shabunin claims that the business trip was canceled after a call from then Deputy Minister Serhiy Hayduk to the head of the Innovation Center.

Currently, Shabunin continues to serve in the 207th battalion of the 241st brigade of the TDF, but he is not physically in the battalion. Officially, he is a shooter.

  • On January 21, journalists accused the Ministry of Defense of purchasing food products at several times inflated prices. The article stated that prices for products are three times higher than retail prices in Kyiv supermarkets. The agreement worth UAH 13.16 billion was concluded on December 23, 2022. It is about providing food to military units stationed in Poltava, Sumy, Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Chernihiv and Cherkasy regions.
  • On January 23, the Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov personally responded to these criticisms, explaining in particular that the Ministry of Defense does not buy individual products, but a complex service — food supply. The Minister explained that the prices of the eight suppliers are different, as well as in supermarket chains, because each one has its own specialization and own production of a certain group of goods. Product prices are analyzed by special expert institutions.
  • On January 24, it became known that the Deputy Minister of Defense Vyacheslav Shapovalov, who was responsible for the rear support of the Armed Forces, resigned. Subsequently, the Minister of Defense Reznikov announced changes in the nutrition of the Armed Forces of Ukraine — it is about a flexible but unified menu system.
  • On February 1, the former Deputy Minister of Defense Vyacheslav Shapovalov received suspicions for lobbying for the conclusion of contracts for the supply of products for the military at inflated prices, the former head of the Department of State Procurement and Supply of Material Resources Bohdan Khmelnytskyi for the purchase of low-quality body armor, and Deputy Director of Promoboronexport Volodymyr Tereshchenko for having signed a fictitious contract for assessing the condition of repaired aircraft components.