Another “bottom” in the Reznikov Ministry is a targeted information attack

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The excessive concentration of scandals surrounding the Ministry of Defense is attributed to a planned campaign to discredit the department or an attempt to remove its leadership from office. Presumably interested persons drop fragmentary documents, and sometimes forgeries, to journalists, and investigative journalists publish them without sufficient verification. This happened in 2015-16, and it significantly undermined our defense capabilities then, and history is repeating itself.

Eggs of the Ministry of Defense

Scandals surrounding the Ministry of Defense have not abated since the post office year. In January, the founder of the project “Our money” Yuriy Nikolov published in DT investigation into a possible 2-3 times overpricing of food products by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. After the publicity, Deputy Minister of Defense Vyacheslav Shapovalov, who was responsible for rear support, including food supply, and director of the procurement department Bohdan Khmelnytskyi left their positions.

Former and current officials of the Ministry of Defense also appeared during the parade of searches organized by law enforcement agencies on February 1 as part of the demonstrative fight against corruption.

Publication of a fake on Ukrpravda

While the security forces were preparing for the searches, anti-corruption organizations paid attention to Oleksandr Liev, who from January 2022 temporarily serves as the head of the department of military-technical policy, development of weapons and military equipment of the MoU. On January 31, Vitaliy Shabunin, head of the Anti-Corruption Center reported in his column on UP, that Liev, who is responsible for the arms contracts of the Ministry of Defense, blocked the access of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to Ukrainian beacons, called to “hear Crimea”, supported the “referendum”, and therefore the occupation of the peninsula. Liev named this information fabricated injection“, which distracts him from his work and is directed not so much against him as against the Minister of Defense.

Journalists interviewed people familiar with Liev, who worked as the executive director of Suspilnyi in 2017-19, and none of those interviewed could recall Liev’s pro-Russian views. At the same time, there is a video recording from 2010 where he campaigns in Crimea to overcome the “orange plague” and worries that Ukraine may return to the West.

February 2 “Ukrainian Pravda” published the news that in T.V.O. the head of the department of military-technical policy, development of armaments and military equipment of the Ministry of Defense Oleksandr Liev allegedly has a Russian passport. In its news, the publication published a photo of the official’s alleged passport.

From the journalistic community, we note: if the first publication about procurement abuse still somehow resembled a real journalistic investigation, then the subsequent immediate activity of law enforcement officers (the author of the investigation about eggs for the Ministry of Defense wrote a lot about thefts during the Great Construction, but we did not see such a lightning-fast reaction of law enforcement officers) and the transfer of the UP to journalists and publication of a forged passport indicate that a campaign against the leadership of the Ministry of Defense has begun.

We cannot say who exactly is attacking him, but the activity of law enforcement officers suggests that this is a war going on within the Ukrainian government. It can also be provoked or deepened by Russian spies, because any changes in the department that deals with military procurement can delay supplies for the army. And for the troops at the front, a delay of several days or weeks in the delivery of equipment, food and everything that the Ministry of Defense buys can have critical consequences.

As reported “Media detector“, on the evening of February 2, Oleksandr Liev recorded a video message and said that the photo of the document published by the UP is not him. Also, in the document in the photo, his surname is written in English (in Latin transliteration) with errors. In addition, the document states that he was allegedly born in Moscow, which, according to Liev, is not true.

In a video message, Liev also said that he had written a resignation letter, and on February 2, this order was signed at the Ministry of Defense.

At 9:31 p.m. of the same day, UP changed published news, adding Liev’s words from the video message.

In addition, the editors changed the source of the news — in the updated version, the publication referred to sources not “in law enforcement agencies” but “in Ukrainian intelligence.”

In addition, the headline of the news was slightly changed. Instead of the initial “A Russian passport was found with the Ministry of Defense official Liev. He denies” the new version was: “Ministry of Defense official Liev denies having a passport of the Russian Federation: he says that it is not him in the photo.” As of 2:30 p.m. on February 3, the news has the headline: “Information about Oleksandr Liev’s Russian passport is not true.” The editors of UP did not mark these changes in the news in any way.

Already on the night of the third of February, at 1.58, UP published the news that the Ministry of Defense “did not confirm” information about Liev’s Russian citizenship.

At the end, the publication supplemented its news with its own refutation and apology:

“The information about Oleksandr Liev’s Russian passport has not been confirmed and does not correspond to reality. “Ukrainian Pravda” apologizes to readers and Oleksandr Liev. The work on errors has also been carried out,” the UP editorial office said.

Now, the changed fourth news of “Ukrainian Pravda” looks as if the publication issued a refutation on February 2 at 9:30 p.m., although in fact it happened on February 3.

Already on the morning of February 3rd, at 10:54 a.m., journalist Mykhailo Tkach published on his Facebook page refuting yesterday’s news and apologizing. Apologies later published and the editor-in-chief of “Ukrainian Pravda” Sevgil Musaeva.

Oleksandr Liev reacted to apologize on his Facebook, informs Institute of mass information. The former official claims that after publishing about his alleged possession of a Russian passport, he received about 200 threatening messages.

Which country’s intelligence officers give information to the UP?

Liev turned to to the Security Service of Ukraine in order to find out the motive of the sources of the “Ukrainian Pravda” journalist who informed about his alleged Russian citizenship.

The head of the Institute of Mass Information, Oksana Romanyuk, noted that the scandal with Liev’s passport testifies to significant problems in the media environment of Ukraine.

“I am saddened by the information that more than 90 media outlets wrote about Liev, and only two contacted for comment… Because this story is a blow not so much to his reputation as to trust in the media. It is a pity that no one really apologizes and clearly explains that the news turned out to be false. It’s a pity that it was spread and is still being spread by dozens of media and carts… No one re-reads, corrects, does not ask for a comment to the person involved… It seems, Houston, we have problems…” Romanyuk wrote.

Screenshots from Oksana Romaniuk’s Facebook page

Later, Romanyuk added to her post on Facebook: “UP and journalist Mykhailo Tkach publicly apologized to the audience, colleagues and Liev. This is the right step. The source, which has since compromised itself, obviously had its own motive. And this source clearly had a win-win situation: profit if the fake was believed, and profit if not. Because in the first case – the achievement of the goal of throwing in, in the second – a blow to the reputation of the investigators. Somehow, “she wrote.

Yaryna Klyuchkovska, communications specialist, media trainer notesthat in the reputational scandals surrounding the Ministry of Defense and in the “war of narratives, not facts”, the department’s communication specialists need to competently practice this kind of attack.

FROM WHICH SPIES – UKRAINIAN OR RUSSIAN UP DID LIEVA RECEIVE A FAKE PASSPORT? THIS IS THE QUESTION!

“We were commissioned” is a very, very bad excuse. They don’t believe her. It has been abused too often in recent years. She is hard at work. Even if it is true.

It is very difficult to believe that the wave of attacks on Reznikov on the procurement line is a coincidence. Indeed. No, it happens. But rarely. Someone is merging the documents. Someone throws up a reminder about the steep characters. Without doubting the decency and good intentions of those journalists and activists who released the information, I cannot ignore the timing and sequence of these outpourings.

Indeed, it seems that someone is deliberately undermining the credibility of the head of the Ministry of Defense. Whether with the aim of harming the supply of arms (an external enemy), or with the aim of getting rid of a political rival (an internal competitor), or with something else.

In the light of recent events, the opinion of our partners’ interest in obtaining a kind of “leverage” on national defense information has even begun to sound. Proponents of this point of view note that:

“Ukraine is in a state of war with the Russian aggressor, so the most sensitive area is defense, for which the Ministry of Defense is directly responsible.

That is, all the actions of the domestic Ministry of Defense are extremely important, sensitive and are under constant monitoring by both society and our Western partners.

Now let’s remember February 2022. At the very beginning of a full-scale invasion, the MOU faced a total lack of everything from weapons of any kind to protective equipment, uniforms, tactical equipment, etc. In order to quickly solve this problem, a decision was made to simplify the procurement procedure, which, in turn, provoked two effects: mass deliveries to military warehouses began, but corruption risks also increased.

However, the most important thing was to provide the troops as much as possible, which, in principle, the Ministry of Defense managed, although not without problems and overdue contracts.

However, it would be fair to note that the apparatus of the Ministry of Defense became hostage to the situation. So, on the one hand, it was necessary to provide the troops in any way, and on the other hand, to guarantee the transparency of supplies. Some domestic and foreign mass media took advantage of this with the support of grant organizations, creating a so-called “lever of influence” that would be convenient to “use” at the right time, especially without going into details. It is not necessary – the main thing is the number of views and resonance.

As confirmation, we have the scandal with “eggs for 17 hryvnias”, which broke out after the publication of journalist Dzerkal Tizhny (Yuriy Nikolov) on January 23, 2023: https://zn.ua/ukr/economic-security/tilovi-patsjuki-minoboroni-pid-chas-vijni-piljajut-na-kharchakh-dlja-zsu-bilshe-nizh-za-mirnoho-zhittja.html

And here is the “fresh” material of the same Y. Nikolov about the purchase of uniforms in Turkey: https://zn.ua/anticorruption/khoroshaja-i-plokhaja-novosti-o-korruptsii-v-minoborony.html

Both materials provoked great indignation in society and caused a furious response. The result of the first was personnel changes, the second – it is certain that there will be a reaction from the authorities. But, the most important thing is that the “instrument” has worked and currently a certain stratum of journalists and activists have the opportunity to painfully “beat” the defense department of the warring country.

On the one hand, this is good, because journalists are obliged to convey the truth to society, thereby stimulating officials to reduce corruption risks. However, this process would be democratic, if not for one thing:

In a strange way, Mr. Nikolov’s “journalistic investigations” are directed exclusively against the reputation of the MoU and come out during those periods of time when the discussions between Ukraine and our Western partners are intensifying regarding the supply of the necessary amount of weapons and their types.

This is exactly what happened in January 2023, when after another defense meeting in the “Ramstein” format, the issue of the supply of critical and sensitive types of weapons remained open: https://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2023/01/7/7383892/

This is what happened this time as well, when Ukraine and Western partners are going through difficult negotiations regarding the supply of F-16 and the corresponding training of pilots: https://www.dsnews.ua/ukr/world/zalezhit-ne-vid-baydena-u-pentagoni-poyasnili-chomu-navchannya-ukrajinskih-pilotiv-na-f-16-zatrimuyetsya-09082023-484813

Therefore, there are well-founded fears that all anti-corruption scandals in the Ministry of Defense are artificially created in order to keep our defense officials under maximum control. Who benefits from doing this with the hands of the journalistic and activist community – we can only guess…”

But it becomes obvious that it has become very profitable for someone to influence the national defense department at the right time and in the right format.

According to the materials: https://texty.org.ua/

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