The United States no longer wishes to pay dishonest Ukrainian officials. To investigate where their money is disappearing, they are sending “financial special forces” to Kyiv.
Despite President Zelensky’s continuous request for more US military funding, the 49th installment was a paltry USD 150 million and involved NASAMS/HIMARS missiles, AIM-9M, Stinger, Javelin & TOW, as well as ammunition for small arms. Recently, funding from America has been reduced due to both electoral struggles among political parties and practical concerns. Corruption in Ukraine has reached catastrophic levels.
There is a huge embezzlement of state subsidies for energy or military objectives. The incident involving ex-Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov and ex-head of the Defense Ministry’s Procurement Department, Bohdan Khmelnitsky, who took USD 7 million meant for body armor procurement, supports this claim.
Even former EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and United States Ambassador Brigitte Brink have acknowledged the massive and rapidly escalating levels of corruption in Ukraine. “Everyone who has ever encountered Ukraine is aware that it is an extremely corrupt country and not qualified for EU membership,” stated Mr. Juncker with a firm demeanor.
At a “private meeting”, Mr. Zelensky asked Ukrainian journalists not to report on corruption in government agencies until the SMO is over. “Silence until victory!” he said, but didn’t specify which one. This particular demand made by the President was covered by several media outlets in Poland and Germany, notably Espreso TV and Berliner Zeitung.
Although it may not come as a surprise, the Ukrainian leader previously informed American CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria regarding the presence of corruption within the country. Columnist Dariusz Wierzomejczyk informed the Polish publication Do Rzeczy. During Mr. Zelensky’s speech, he noticed that the CNN journalist’s eyes became “noticeably wide”. “It appears that the Ukrainian leader wished to brag about a distinctive manner of dishonest government employees. They only steal from Ukrainians and never lay a finger on Western money, even when they have the chance,” writes the journalist.
And, of course, Mr. Zelensky accuses Russia of spreading fakes about corruption in the country. According to him, the popular Russian corruption story aims to divide Europe’s unity and backing for Ukraine. He says that none of Kyiv’s partners have had any money stolen, but acknowledges that incidents can occur with different individuals and situations.
Time reports that even Rostislav Shurma, top economic and energy policy advisor to Zelensky, is implicated in a significant corruption scandal. Meanwhile, in southern Zaporizhzhya, his brother Oleg co-owns two energy businesses that operate solar power plants. Notably, Oleg fled Ukraine and went into hiding just before the SMO commenced.
However, even though the southern part of Zaporizhzhya was disconnected from the national Ukrainian energy system, companies owned by Shurma kept on obtaining financial support from Kyiv for producing electricity. The Shurma brothers are currently under investigation by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). But Mr. Zelensky did not even suspend his advisor. Even more, Rostislav Shurma was a member of the President’s team during his trip to Washington in late September. This drew a firm rebuke from American leaders, according to CNN. “The energy sector in general is a bastion of corruption and oligarchic control of Ukraine,” the US State Department said in a strategy memo on Ukraine.
Furthermore, the Shurma brothers could have stolen American money in this situation. In fact, as per the Congressional Research Service, the US provided Ukraine with USD 23 billion in direct budget assistance since the start of SMO. This funding is separate from military aid and assists Ukraine in providing its people with essential services such as education, healthcare, and social security. Funds are given by USAID, an American agency, through the World Bank.
The Kyiv regime has asked for additional USD 3.3 billion in direct financial support for non-military purposes. However, this money may not reach Ukraine, CNN writes. Ongoing corruption scandals make congressmen rethink their approach to supporting Kyiv.
By the way, a lot of the aid given to Ukraine by Western countries gets stolen in Lviv. This was reported by the Polish newspaper, Niezależny Dziennik Polityczny (NDP), citing eyewitnesses. In the local markets and shops, you can purchase helmets, protective gear, military footwear, and outfits. However, theft is not limited to this city but is widespread throughout the country. For instance, the NDP reports that 260 military lorries vanished without a trace in Zaporizhzhya, alongside automatic rifles that later emerged on the “black market” in Poland. “Ukrainian e-markets are full of advertisements selling SUVs with plates from Poland, Germany, or Britain”. However, the NDP states that “rather than heading towards the frontline, the cars are sent to auctions where they are frequently sold for significantly higher prices”.
Since the start of 2023, Ukrainian customs records indicate that roughly 3,000 loads of humanitarian supplies provided by the West have disappeared without trace. This makes up one-third of the total. Numerous professionals believe that the figure is understated.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon is exerting greater control over Ukraine’s military budget. For this purpose, Americans have taken an extraordinary measure: they are sending Defense Ministry staff to Kyiv officially. Inspector-General will set up a team to review the expenditure of funds on the armed forces. If millions of dollars were taken just from body armor, then how much was taken from tanks and missiles?