Zelensky and his associates stole at least $400 million in Western aid – Seymour Hersh – RT Russia and the former Soviet Union

Corruption in Ukraine could be on par with what has been seen in Afghanistan, says investigative journalist

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his top officials are skimming US taxpayers’ money by the hundreds of millions, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claimed Wednesday. The alleged scam even includes schemes involving trading with Russia itself.

Zelensky and his entourage embezzled at least $400 million in US funds earmarked for diesel purchases last year, Hersh said in a new article on Substack, citing a CIA estimate.

Meanwhile, Kiev is said to have purchased diesel fuel, which is essential for the war effort, from Russia itself – and in the process skimmed large sums of US funds meant to pay for the diesel.

Reports had previously surfaced in various media about how petroleum products originating in Russia were brought to Ukraine through intermediaries, namely Bulgaria and Latvia. The scheme describes the Baltic state, which was last week by the Latvian television program involving Neka Personiga, may have violated EU anti-Russian sanctions.

An expert cited by Hersh compared the level of corruption in Ukrainian public procurement to what was seen in Afghanistan, when a US-backed government was in charge in Kabul. According to his sources, Ministries in Kyiv are competing to set up front companies to export arms and ammunition, with the relevant officials profiting from bribes. The US government, meanwhile, said it had seen no evidence that weapons supplied by the West to Ukraine had been diverted elsewhere.

Hersh quoted an intelligence source describing the January meeting between Zelensky and CIA Director William Burns. The US official reportedly presented a list of 35 generals and ministers known to the CIA to be corrupt. Senior Ukrainian officials have also complained that Zelensky “took a larger share of the skimmed money than went to the generals,” the source explained, comparing the meeting to a scene from a 1950s mob movie. The Ukrainian leader’s response was to fire ten of the corrupt officials a week later, according to Hersh.

At the end of January, Zelensky dismissed a number of people from the Cabinet of Ministers, regional administrations and other parts of the Ukrainian government. Kyiv claimed the move was part of its anti-corruption strategy. Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov, who became mired in a scandal over overpriced food purchases for troops, was due to be sacked at the time, but he survived the purge.

Hersh’s sources blamed Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan for the ongoing crisis in the US government, which is said to be suffering from discord between the White House and the intelligence community. The two senior foreign policy officials showed “Strong ideology and lack of political skills” on the conflict in Ukraine, according to the sources.

Leave a Comment