No evidence U.S. aid to Ukraine has been lost to alleged corruption, officials say – National

Prime Pentagon officials instructed lawmakers on Tuesday that no evidence exists but that any of the billions of {dollars} in U.S. aid despatched to Ukraine to struggle Russia‘s invasion has been lost due to corruption, however famous these investigations are nonetheless ongoing.

The listening to held by the Home Armed Providers Committee comes as some Republicans are brazenly questioning whether or not additional aid to Ukraine ought to be slowed or stopped solely, and are levelling allegations of corruption within the Ukrainian authorities.

Robert P. Storch, the Pentagon’s inspector common, was pressed by Home of Consultant members a number of occasions about whether or not they have been any findings of fraud. He stated various ideas and allegations have are available in to a brand new hotline, however there have been “restricted findings” to date, with many reviews pending.

Storch repeatedly stated he didn’t need to speak about investigations that haven’t but been accomplished.


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Corruption allegations in opposition to the Ukrainian authorities have persisted for decades — thanks partially to the nation’s Soviet-period ties with Moscow — and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to root it out when he got here into workplace in 2019.

However Zelenskyy’s authorities is currently grappling with a corruption scandal that has claimed the roles of a number of senior authorities officials, together with contained in the nation’s defence ministry. A number of deputies of Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov have been fired.

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Members of Congress have persistently questioned how carefully the U.S. is monitoring its aid to Ukraine to be sure that it’s not topic to fraud or ending up within the improper arms.

The Pentagon has a “strong program” to monitor the aid because it crosses the border into Ukraine and to preserve tabs on it as soon as it’s there, relying on the sensitivity of every weapons system, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder stated Tuesday at a press briefing.

There’s additionally a small staff of Individuals in Ukraine working with Ukrainians to do bodily inspections when doable, but in addition digital inspections when wanted, since these groups aren’t going to the entrance strains, Ryder stated.

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Celeste Wallander, the assistant secretary of protection for worldwide safety affairs, additionally instructed the committee there isn’t a evidence any of the weapons provided to Ukraine have been discovered exterior the nation, refuting allegations the supplies could be resold by navy commanders.

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Ukraine’s forces are “successfully using safety help on daily basis on the battlefield,” she stated.

Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, who serves because the director of operations for the Joint Workers on the Pentagon, affirmed Wallander’s evaluation and famous it could not be in Ukraine’s curiosity to hand over any of the weapons.

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Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, the Republican committee chairman, stated Congress has appropriated greater than US$100 billion in navy, financial and humanitarian help to Ukraine and NATO allies.

Of that, the U.S. has doled out more than US$75 billion so far, and that features almost US$32 billion in Pentagon weapons and coaching to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion a yr in the past.

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That unprecedented quantity of aid has sparked scrutiny by some lawmakers, who need to guarantee Ukraine is utilizing that aid correctly.

The present allegations of corruption in Kyiv are huge-ranging, together with kickbacks for the acquisition of meals for Ukraine’s armed forces, the non-public use of luxurious automobiles and the embezzlement of greater than US$7 million in humanitarian aid.

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Zelenskyy is predicted to approve laws aimed toward boosting transparency in defence procurement, which was handed final week in response to the scandal.

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Reznikov stated earlier this month he had “zero tolerance” for corruption and has additionally pledged to reboot his ministry’s anti-graft division and embrace specialists and civic activists in reform efforts.

Colin Kahl, the U.S. below secretary of protection for coverage, instructed lawmakers that the Biden administration has been cautious to ship Ukraine the weapons it wants because the struggle progresses, and that Ukrainian leaders are conscious of considerations about accountability.

“I do suppose they’re taking these points critically,” he instructed the committee.

But some far-proper Republicans have known as for the stream of aid to cease, pointing to ongoing home points that want funding forward of worldwide considerations.

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In early February, a bunch of 11 Home Republicans unveiled a “Ukraine Fatigue” decision that said the U.S. should finish its navy and monetary aid to Ukraine and urged the combatants to attain a peace settlement.

Such a decision or laws would possible fail to cross within the Senate, the place Republican leaders — who’re within the minority — have voiced assist for Ukraine and U.S. aid.

On Tuesday, Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell known as on Congress to improve protection spending within the coming yr to confront what he termed rising threats from Russia in addition to China.

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Ukrainian fighters have known as the U.S.-supplied weapons, which have included a number of rocket launchers, lengthy-vary missiles and air defence programs, a “sport-changer” of their struggle in opposition to Russia. The weapons have helped gradual Russia’s advances within the east whereas aiding Ukrainian counteroffensives elsewhere.

Kahl instructed the committee the Pentagon doesn’t foresee Russia making any important close to-time period features within the months to come, describing the entrance strains as a “grinding slog.”

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He additionally declined to say if the U.S. would ship Ukraine F-16 fighter jets, which has grow to be the most recent in a mounting sequence of navy aid requests from Zelenskyy.

Biden has dominated out the fighter jets for now and Kahl stated it may take 18-24 months to ship present F-16s, with new ones taking months longer.

He added that Ukraine needed the jets but it surely was not its prime precedence.

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“It’s a precedence for the Ukrainians, however it’s not certainly one of their prime three priorities,” Kahl stated.

—With recordsdata from the Related Press and Reuters

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