The Ukrainian regime run by President Volodymyr Zelensky is still saturated with corruption as the war-torn nation looks to American taxpayers for additional life support.
On Monday, Time Magazine published a feature on Zelensky’s “Struggle to Keep Ukraine in the Fight,” detailing the alleged challenges faced by the Ukrainian president after 20 months of war. This includes waning Western support for funding the endless effort and rampant corruption within the Ukrainian state. A majority of Americans oppose sending more U.S. tax dollars to Ukraine, according to a CNN poll in August.
“With the outbreak of war in Israel, even keeping the world’s attention on Ukraine has become a major challenge,” Time Magazine lamented. Ukrainians are reportedly also running out of manpower as government corruption erodes confidence in the regime among both potential military recruits and the West.
“Now recruitment is way down,” according to Time. “As conscription efforts have intensified around the country, stories are spreading on social media of draft officers pulling men off trains and buses and sending them to the front. Those with means sometimes bribe their way out of service, often by paying for a medical exemption.”
Reportedly in response to this type of widespread corruption, “Zelensky fired the heads of the draft offices in every region of the country” over the summer.
“The decision was intended to signal his commitment to fighting graft,” Time wrote. “But the move backfired, according to the senior military officer, as recruitment nearly ground to a halt without leadership.”
According to the magazine, “the issue of corruption has strained Zelensky’s relationship with many of his allies.” As one top Ukrainian presidential adviser is quoted: “People are stealing like there’s no tomorrow.”
Thus Zelensky decided to fire Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov in September. Even though Zelensky’s advisers said the defense minister was not involved in corruption scandals, “He failed to keep order within his ministry.” But, according to Time, government officials did not “feel any fear” because the move came too late.
The persistent problem of corruption in Ukraine comes while the White House is asking Congress to send another $61 billion in U.S. tax dollars to the war effort against Russia. This was part of a $100 billion “security” bill Biden demanded lawmakers pass earlier this month, which packed support for Ukraine, Israel, the southern border, and humanitarian aid all into one measure. House Republicans now led by Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana scoffed at the proposal, which exploits the recent Hamas terrorist attack on Israeli civilians to send another $61 billion to Ukraine. Biden’s plan offers less than $15 billion each to our own southern border and Israel.
“I told the staff at the White House today that our consensus among House Republicans is that we need to bifurcate those issues,” Johnson told Fox News last week.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to reassure skeptics of additional aid for Ukraine last week with an interview on CBS, saying the money is being used to make weapons here in America. Really, he just admitted some of the tax dollars are being used to enrich Congress’s defense-contractor friends in the military-industrial complex.
“If you look at the Ukraine assistance,” McConnell said, “a significant portion of what’s being spent in the United States and 38 different states, replacing the weapons that we send to Ukraine with more modern weapons, so we’re rebuilding our industrial base.”
.@LeaderMcConnell says "a significant portion" of Ukraine aid from Congress is being spent in states to make weapons.
"We're rebuilding our industrial base. The Ukrainians are destroying the army of one of our biggest rivals. I have a hard time finding anything wrong with that." pic.twitter.com/24janX3kbr
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) October 22, 2023
An honest examination of the $113 billion dumped into Ukraine, however, reveals much of the money is sent overseas. As I reported last week, “According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, about $67 billion of the $113 billion in Ukrainian aid went to defense spending.”