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Deputy Chief of Russia’s General Staff Arrested for Bribery

Lieutenant General Vadim Shamarin. Russian Defense Ministry

Updated with Peskov’s remarks, Investigative Committee statement.

Russia has arrested a general on corruption allegations, state media reported Thursday, making him the fourth senior-ranking military officer to face fraud-related criminal charges over the past month in an apparent wider crackdown in the Defense Ministry.

A military court placed Lieutenant-General Vadim Shamarin in pre-trial detention until late July, the state-run TASS news agency reported Thursday morning, citing the court.

On May 22, the court chose a preventive measure for Shamarin in the form of detention for a period of two months,” a court official was quoted as saying by the agency.

The official added that Shamarin, who heads the Russian General Staff’s communications directorate, is accused of accepting a bribe “at an especially large scale” while awarding state contracts.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, announced later on Thursday that the general is accused of accepting 36 million rubles ($397,000) from the executives of a phone manufacturing plant for “general patronage” and ensuring higher product supplies through Defense Ministry contracts.

The law enforcement body said both the general director and head accountant at the phone manufactury, Perm Telephone Plant Telta, were also being held in police custody on unspecified charges.

The Kommersant business daily, citing an anonymous law enforcement source, first broke the news of Shamarin’s arrest early Thursday, saying at the time he was accused of unspecified “machinations.”

He is the fourth high-ranking military figure to be arrested over the past month in an apparent crackdown in the Russian Defense Ministry. 

However, the Kremlin later on Thursday denied speculations about a sweeping purge in the military.

The fight against corruption is an ongoing effort. It is not a campaign. It is an integral part of the activities of law enforcement agencies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Authorities said last week that Defense Ministry personnel directorate chief Yury Kuznetsov was arrested for bribery.

Ex-Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, an ally of former minister and current Russian Security Council chief Sergei Shoigu, became the highest-profile military figure following his arrest last month on suspicion of bribery.

And an ex-commander who was previously sacked after he criticized military leaders for high casualty rates in Ukraine was arrested on Tuesday.

The arrests and change of leadership at the Russian Defense Ministry come as Russian forces have made their most significant advances on the battlefield in 18 months with a new major assault on Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv region.

AFP contributed reporting.

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