July 19, 2024
Ukraine Weaponizes Draft to Target Journalists Exposing Corruption

Ukraine Weaponizes Draft to Target Journalists Exposing Corruption

(Luis CornelioHeadline USA) Ukraine faces another scandal amid mounting reports exposing rampant government corruption.  

According to Politico EU, Ukrainian officials are resorting to using the draft to suppress journalists who uncover these issues. Investigative journalist Yevhenii Shulhat became a focal point in April.  

Just before publishing an exposé on alleged corruption within the Security Service of Ukraine, Shulhat was accosted at a shopping mall by officers attempting to force him to accept a draft notice. 

“I regard this as intimidation and obstruction of my journalistic activity,” he said, according to Politico. The draft notice incident occurred shortly after Shulhat reached out to the military agency for comment on his upcoming story. 

House Republicans, in coordination with Senate Democrats, recently passed a multi-billion-dollar aid package for Ukraine amid its ongoing conflict with Russia.  

Staunch opposition from figures like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., highlighted concerns over corruption as a reason for her dissent. 

Politico’s report highlighted that Shulhat’s experience is part of a broader pattern where journalists and watchdog groups are sounding alarms about the draft being weaponized. 

Olexandr Salizhenko, editor-in-chief of the anti-government corruption watchdog Chesno, faced vicious pressure to explain his refusal to comply with the draft despite battling stage-four cancer. 

Investigative journalist Yuri Nikolov detailed how the government deploys “different intimidation tactics to try to deter reporters and then, of course, they can always threaten to ship you off to the front lines.” 

Accusing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of potential complicity, Nikolov pointed out, “These channels are very close to the office of the president.” 

Responding to the accusations, Zelenskyy’s deputy Oleg Tatarov condemned the “use of criminal justice tools to put pressure on any person, including public activists.” 

Yet, Vitaliy Shabunin, head of the Anti-Corruption Action Center in Ukraine, implicated Tatarov himself in the draft’s weaponization. Shabunin is currently under investigation for refusing military service. 

“Why is the president’s office after me?” he asked on a Facebook post, “Maybe it is because I talk about how Tatarov manages the law enforcement system of Ukraine? Or it is because the Anti-Corruption Action Center systematically destroys the anti-democratic initiatives of the authorities.” 


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