Don’t expect to hear a lot about this from the MSM or the Ukraine-loving politicians in Washington from both parties. It turns out that some money has once again gone missing in Kyiv. And we’re not talking about chicken feed here. Members of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reportedly conspired with a local arms firm to steal nearly $40 million in state funds. That may not sound like a lot in comparison to a nation’s total budget, but it’s one heck of a nice payday for some corrupt bureaucrats. Now Zelensky and his crew are scrambling because they’re afraid that these latest revelations will endanger their perceived path to membership in NATO, the EU, or both. But this has been happening often enough recently that we need to ask how many other incidents of corruption are going undetected or at least unreported. (NPR)
Employees from a Ukrainian arms firm conspired with defense ministry officials to embezzle almost $40 million earmarked to buy 100,000 mortar shells for the war with Russia, Ukraine’s security service reported.
The SBU said late Saturday that five people have been charged, with one person detained while trying to cross the Ukrainian border. If found guilty, they face up to 12 years in prison.
The investigation comes as Kyiv attempts to clamp down on corruption in a bid to speed up its membership in the European Union and NATO. Officials from both blocs have demanded widespread anti-graft reforms before Kyiv can join them.
This wasn’t just any old lump of cash from the general fund. This was money that was appropriated for mortar shells to fight back the Russians. That was supposed to be their top priority, right? The money was transferred to a Ukrainian arms company. They were supposed to transfer it to a foreign arms dealer who would then deliver the shells. But the cash instead went to a collection of private accounts and the arms were never delivered.
Five people have been charged in the scheme, but only one of them has been locked up. (That person was caught trying to flee the country.) I suppose it’s good news that the plot was uncovered and action is being taken, but this still raises even more questions about the stability and honesty of Ukraine’s leaders. That sort of corruption at very high levels doesn’t simply happen in a vacuum. It’s part of the culture of Ukraine.
It’s also worth remembering that this was our money (America’s) that was stolen. Ukraine doesn’t have their own money at this point and we’re funding nearly all of their government operations. They claim that the money is being recovered and will be returned to the Defense Ministry. But the plot dates back to 2022 and they’re only finding out about it now. Something here simply doesn’t seem to add up.
It’s not as if this is the first incident of this kind that we’ve seen. Last summer, Zelensky was forced to fire all 24 regional military recruitment chiefs around the country. It turned out that every last one of them had been accepting bribes from people seeking to avoid military service and fighting in the war. The year before that, he had to dismiss spy chief Ivan Bakanov and war crimes prosecutor Iryna Venediktova. It turns out they had been collaborating with and taking money from Russia. It seems like government service is the only place you can make any money in Ukraine these days, but those in well-placed positions have been doing very well for themselves.
Why are there still discussions taking place about Ukraine joining either NATO or the EU? There have been serious concerns about corruption in Ukraine since long before the Russian invasion. This is nothing new. And even if most of the corruption were to somehow be eradicated, Ukraine is going to need to negotiate its way out of this war before it can join any alliances. If we let them into NATO now, we’re going to be at war with Russia the moment the next drone or missile from Moscow lands on Ukrainian soil.
We’ve sent hundreds of billions of dollars to Ukraine and the clowns in Washington are working overtime to send them even more. Nobody is willing to call for and conduct a full audit of where all that money went. How much of it wound up in the offshore accounts of corrupt Ukrainian officials? Will we ever find out? I’d be willing to wager that it’s a lot more than we’ve been told.