With corruption rampant, arms supply to Ukraine risks backfiring
By Ian Miles Cheong
Seen from afar, the extent of Ukrainian corruption appears to go far deeper than the recent narrative shift suggests, and it could come back to bite the West as weapons sent to kyiv forces go unknowingly disappear. where they are.
Just as was the case with US support for the mujahideen in the 1980s in a proxy war against the Soviets, its support for the Ukrainian government may one day reap a whirlwind. And just like his involvement in Afghanistan decades ago, supporting “the enemy of my enemy” involves dealing with shady characters and whitewashing their misdeeds.
After the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the media very abruptly stopped covering Ukraine’s seedy political underside – with dirty business going all the way to the top. Even America’s darling, Vladimir Zelensky, did not emerge unscathed from these reports.
Just months before the dispute, mainstream publications, such as The Guardian, were reporting on Zelensky’s offshore connections, as revealed by the Pandora Papers. As detailed in the report, Zelensky, who campaigned for a position on an anti-corruption platform, did not disclose the extent of his offshore assets and his ties to some of the very oligarchs he promised to withdraw from his political influence – and continued to deal with everything. like ‘business as usual’ once he came to power.
Fast forward to the present day: Zelensky is a beacon of strength and an icon of liberal democracy. Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called him a “hero” and many celebrities have appeared alongside the Ukrainian leader in photo ops to promote his image.
But for all the pomp and grandeur surrounding Zelensky, the issue of corruption in Ukraine is once again coming to the fore. Reality sets in for many Westerners – much of the funds and armaments for the Ukrainian military cannot be found, and average Americans and Europeans are paying the price. Literally.
It’s one thing for a politician to go back on his campaign promises, but Zelensky’s apparent corruption is becoming a liability for his Western supporters.
Ukrainian-born US Congresswoman Victoria Spartz, one of the most vocal cheerleaders for calling on the US government to support Ukraine, has denounced Ukrainian authorities, including Zelensky.
As detailed by CNN last week, Spartz has leveled numerous accusations against the Ukrainian government, drawing attention to its deep corruption — and asking questions about where all the funds go.
But his peers in Congress are reportedly tired of his “belligerent rhetoric”, arguing that his questions reflect badly on Ukraine. After all, Zelensky’s image as a clean politician is one that must be preserved if members of Congress, especially those with personal interests in defense contractors, are to continue milking the American taxpayer for continued support for the proxy war against Russia.
But a facade as fragile as that of Zelensky can only be maintained for so long. As the economy plunges into recession and inflation hits record highs in the US and UK, among other NATO countries, there is little politicians are willing to do to keep the narrative going, especially as many US Democrats struggle to hold onto their seats in the upcoming midterm elections.
Sparta is not alone in criticizing the Ukrainian government and its corruption. CBS released a documentary titled “Arming Ukraine” detailing the disappearance of US military aid to Ukraine.
Jonas Ohman, founder of the non-profit organization Blue-Yellow, provides an assessment in the documentary that only 30% of military aid sent by the United States has reached the front lines.
The CBS documentary prompted a massive backlash from Ukraine’s most vocal supporters on social media, with many demanding the channel retract the report — all because it made Ukraine look bad. And CBS capitulatedissuing a retraction to state that the information was old and that “delivery has improved”.
The documentary is “updated” accordingly. No one knows if CBS got the call from above, or just gave in to requests from Twitter users with Ukrainian flags in their profiles.
Regardless of the retraction, the concerns are valid and echo those raised by US intelligence sources who told CNN in April that Washington has no idea where the weapons it sends actually end up.
“We have loyalty for a short time, but when it goes into the fog of war, we have almost zero,” one of the sources said. “It falls into a big black hole, and you have almost no idea after a short period of time.”
Even more recently, in July, NATO and EU states held Ukraine accountable for weapons entering the country, noting that everything from MANPADS and rifle ammunition to armored vehicles, n was not properly followed, if at all.
The Financial Times reported that NATO states have called on Kyiv leaders to draw up detailed inventory lists and track weapons supplied by the West.
“All of these weapons land in southern Poland, are shipped across the border, and then just distributed in vehicles to be driven through: trucks, vans, sometimes passenger cars,” a Western official told the FT. “And from that point on, we don’t know where they are and we have no idea where they’re going, where they’re being used or even if they’re staying in the country.”
Such an assessment contradicts CBS’s new claim that “delivery has improved,” which would not take into account the billions of munitions and military aid sent to Ukraine since the conflict began.
Apart from highly regulated weaponry such as the US’s state-of-the-art HIMARS mobile artillery pieces, much of the weaponry sent to Ukraine has simply disappeared into a black hole – a fact underscored by concerns raised by the Swedish police. who warned that “there is probably a high risk of illegal arms flows entering Sweden”.
With so little accountability for where the weapons go and an unwillingness to face the facts, the West could be faced with something akin to a resumption of the war on terror, especially with existing threats such as ‘Al-Qaeda and ISIS already in the process of regrouping and rebuilding – and potentially re-arming with Western weapons.
Meanwhile, with the training given to radical neo-Nazi extremists such as the Azov Battalion to fight the Russians, Western concerns about white supremacy could manifest themselves in something more than a few racist social media trolls.
And all because politicians needed their anti-Russian state to appear as a dishonestly presented poster boy for “liberalism” and “democracy.”
Ian Miles Cheong is a political and cultural commentator. Her work has been featured on The Rebel, Penthouse, Human Events and The Post Millennial.
Disclaimer: The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not represent the position of The citizen.