MOSCOW: Russia on Thursday arrested a high-ranking defence ministry official on charges of “abuse of power”, the fifth senior military figure to be put behind bars this month.

An official from the defence ministry’s depar­t­ment for ensuring state orders, Vladimir Vertele­tsky, “has been charged with the abuse of his official powers”, Moscow’s powerful Investigative Commit­tee said in a statement, adding that he had been placed in pre-trial detention.

Russia has arrested a number of generals and military leaders in recent weeks, seeking to overhaul an army hierarchy seen as corrupt and inefficient in an reinvigorated push for victory in Ukraine.

With the Kremlin now trying to beat Ukraine by outspending it on artillery, missiles, drones and ammunition, Moscow is putting a tighter leash on senior military bosses. This means clamping down on allegations of rampant fraud and personal enrichment.

State media reported on Thursday that Vadim Shamarin, deputy chief of Russia’s general staff, had been arrested on large-scale bribe taking.

He is the third senior military figure to be arrested on corruption charges in the past month.Putin this month removed his long-time ally Sergei Shoigu as defence minister, replacing him with economist Andrei Belousov.

A deputy defence minister Timur Ivanov, and the ministry’s head of personnel, Yury Kuznetsov, have also been arrested on bribery charges in the last month.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2024

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