Ukraine's anti-corruption agencies fund fight against Russia

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine's military has purchased hundreds of drones this year using money collected by anti-graft agencies from settlements in corruption cases, officials said on Thursday.

The agencies have sent more than $17 million (650 million hryvnias) in 2023 to the government's main crowdfunding platform to support Ukraine's "Army of Drones", the Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) said.

The funds were used to buy drones for the army and military intelligence, as well as infantry fighting vehicles for new Interior Ministry assault brigades, it said.

Ukraine is expected soon to mount a counteroffensive to try to retake land occupied by Russia in nearly 15 months of war.

"The war not only did not stop the fight against top corruption, but added motivation to our work," SAPO head Oleksandr Klymenko said in a statement.

The agency said anti-corruption authorities had overall sent more than $46 million to the military, including from case settlements, since Russia's Feb. 24, 2022 invasion.

The European Union has sought a crackdown on corruption as Ukraine tries to join the 27-nation bloc. As part of moves to clamp down, the head of the Supreme Court was detained this week in a bribery case and removed from his post.

(Reporting and writing by Dan Peleschuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage)