A top advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has reportedly admitted that corruption is so rampant in the wartorn former Soviet state that officials are “stealing like there’s no tomorrow”.
Speaking anonymously to Time magazine, what is alleged to be a top presidential advisor to Zelensky said that the Ukrainian government’s efforts to stamp out corruption have proved fruitless, given that they were implemented too late to have any impact, including the firing of Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov.
“People are stealing like there’s no tomorrow,” the top advisor is said to have told the publication, saying that officials do not “feel any fear” of engaging in corruption because the firing of Reznikov and others took over six months after Zelenksy was warned that the Defence Ministry was drowning in graft.
Another advisor is reported to have told the magazine that by the time Zelesnky acted “it was too late” and that the corruption scandal had not only become known in Western capitals but also among soldiers on the frontline, where troops reportedly began making lewd jokes about “Reznikov’s eggs” — a reference to the accusation that the Defence Ministry had vastly overpaid for basic items such as eggs and coats for soldiers.
The report notes claims by officials that Zelensky’s office has worked to stop giving the impression, at least, of corruption. Working under what are described as strict directives to “avoid the slightest perception of self-enrichment…Don’t buy anything. Don’t take any vacations. Just sit at your desk, be quiet, and work”, members of his staff are claimed to be paid just $1,000 per month and sleep in bunker rooms the size of prison cells.
The issue of corruption in Ukraine, which has been ranked by Transparency International as the most corrupt European country except Russia, is becoming a major issue in Washington D.C. as President Biden continues to push for more American taxpayer dollars to be sent to the former Soviet state.
In addition to the $113 billion already committed to Kyiv, the Biden administration is attempting to convince Congress to send another $61.4 billion to Ukraine by tying the funding to emergency funding for Israel and the U.S. border crisis.
Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH), a leading opponent of continuing to fund the proxy war against Russia, said on Monday: “I’ve sat in a lot of briefings where I was promised Ukraine doesn’t have a corruption problem.”
“The Biden admin has lied to us. Not one more penny to Ukraine.”
The Republican-led Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives has claimed that “Ukrainian government officials allegedly engaged in bribery, used government vehicles for personal use, and purchased inflated food supplies for Ukrainian forces.”
Even the legacy media, which has been a proponent of perpetuating the proxy war in Ukraine, has begun to slowly admit that corruption is a major issue in the country, with the New York Times reporting last month that Ukrainian officials acknowledged that money intended for military contracts “failed to produce weaponry or ammunition and that some money has vanished.”
For his part, in an interview with Time, President Zelensky has claimed that battling corruption is one of his chief aims but asserted that the issue is being weaponised to cut off funding.
“It’s not right for them to cover up their failure to help Ukraine by tossing out these accusations,” he said.
A top official told the magazine that Zelensky has begun to feel betrayed by his backers in the West for merely providing enough assistance to survive rather than sufficient weaponry to win the war against Russia.
However, another said that Zelensy “deludes himself,” adding: “We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that.”
The publication went on to claim that officials in Kyiv are beginning to believe that due to heavy casualties over the past year and a half, there may no longer be enough soldiers left to win the war.
Even if the United States were to supply all the weaponry needed, one aide said: “We don’t have the men to use them.”