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Kremlin slams allegations about spare parts being smuggled to Ukrainian military

Ukraine’s media reported that high-placed Ukrainian officials were allegedly smuggling spare parts from Russia for the country’s military hardware

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has blasted media reports from Ukraine as ‘absurd’ that high-ranking Ukrainian officials were allegedly smuggling spare parts from Russia for Kiev’s military hardware.

"I am not aware of this scandal because our journalists do not work in Ukraine and we don’t have any likelihood of getting unbiased information from there. That is why, I do not know the details, but this sounds absurd," Peskov said, responding to a question about whether such illegal shipments from Russia were probable.

Similarly, the Kremlin spokesman stressed that he could not say anything explicitly on this subject since he did not have the necessary information.

Replying to a specific question on whether smuggling dual-purpose products were possible from Russia, Peskov pointed out that such shipments were under special supervision, which "is exercised for the purpose of preventing any uncontrolled transfers of this special equipment."

Journalists from the Ukrainian TV program "Our Money" specializing in corruption investigations reported on Monday that spare parts were being smuggled to Ukraine for defense enterprises.

The inquiry alleges that some officials in Ukraine have been selling spare parts for military hardware to Ukrainian defense enterprises with a markup of up to 300% since 2016, smuggling them either from Russia, or from the depots of Ukrainian military units. The deals were worth around 250 million hryvnia (about $9.3 million).

According to the journalists’ claims, officials close to Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko are involved in these shady dealings, in particular, the son of First Deputy Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Oleg Gladkovsky, Igor, his business partner Vitaly Zhukov, a certain Andrei Logoza, and also the country’s defense conglomerate Ukroboronprom.

On her part, Head of the Batkivshchina Party, presidential contender Yulia Timoshenko has said amidst the scandal sparked by the reporters’ investigation that she had embarked on initiating the impeachment procedure against President Poroshenko.

She described the facts indicated in the probe as "assisting the enemy and destroying the Ukrainian army," adding that these actions "fall under article 111 defined as ‘High Treason’ in the country’s Criminal Code.