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

A senior Pentagon official told lawmakers on Tuesday that there was no evidence yet that there was any of the billions of dollars of aid the US sent to Ukraine to fight Russia.invasion of Lost to corruption, but note that investigations into them are still ongoing.

A hearing held by the House Armed Services Committee has openly questioned whether some Republicans should delay further aid to Ukraine or halt it altogether, leveling allegations of corruption in the Ukrainian government. It was done when

Inspector General of the Pentagon, Robert P. Storch, has been pressured several times by congressmen about whether there are fraud investigations. He said the new hotline has received many tips and allegations, but so far there have been “limited findings” and many reports are pending.

Storch reiterated that he didn’t want to discuss the investigation, which has not yet been completed.

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Corruption allegations against the Ukrainian government persisting for decades Partly because of its ties to Soviet-era Moscow, President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to eradicate it when he took office in 2019.

However, the Zelensky government Currently working on a corruption scandal Several deputies of Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov have been fired.

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Members of Congress have consistently questioned how closely the United States tracks aid to Ukraine to keep it out of the wrong hands.

The Pentagon has a “robust program” to track aid across the border into Ukraine and, once it arrives, according to the sensitivity of each weapon system, Pentagon spokesman Brig said. says. General Pat Ryder said at a news conference on Tuesday:

Ryder said there is a small team of Americans in Ukraine who work with Ukrainians to conduct physical inspections when possible, but also virtual inspections when necessary.

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‘Ukraine is Alive’: World Marks One Year After Russian Invasion

Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international security, also told the commission that there was no evidence that the weapons supplied to Ukraine were found outside the country, and that the materials could have been resold by military commanders. Refuted the allegations of sex.

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The Ukrainian military “provides effective security assistance on the battlefield every day,” she said.

Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, confirmed Wallander’s assessment, noting that giving up arms would not be in Ukraine’s interest.

Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the Republican committee, said Congress had allocated more than $100 billion for military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and its NATO allies.

the, US has donated more than US$75 billion to dateand that includes about $32 billion in Pentagon weapons and training to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion a year ago.

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That unprecedented amount of aid has sparked scrutiny by some lawmakers who want to make sure Ukraine is using its aid appropriately.

Current corruption allegations in Kiev are wide-ranging and include kickbacks for food purchases by the Ukrainian army, personal use of luxury cars, and embezzlement of over US$7 million in humanitarian aid.

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Ukraine’s Zelensky says US congressional aid is ‘not charity’, calls for more help

Zelensky plans to approve a law passed last week in response to the scandal aimed at making defense procurement more transparent.

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Earlier this month, Mr. Reznikov said he had “no tolerance” for corruption and promised to restart the ministry’s anti-corruption department and involve experts and civic activists in reform efforts.

U.S. Defense Secretary for Policy Colin Carle told lawmakers that the Biden administration was careful to send necessary weapons to Ukraine as the war progressed, and Ukrainian leaders raised concerns about accountability. said he knew.

“I think they take these issues seriously,” he told the commission.

But some far-right Republicans have called for the aid flow to be halted, pointing to ongoing domestic problems that require funding before international concerns.

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In early February, a group of 11 House Republicans passed a “Ukraine Fatigue” resolution that said the United States must end military and financial aid to Ukraine and urged combatants to reach a peace deal. Announced.

Such resolutions and laws are unlikely to pass in the Senate, where minority Republican leaders have expressed support for Ukraine and US aid.

On Tuesday, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Congress to increase defense spending next year to face growing threats from Russia and China.

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Ukrainian fighters have called US-provided weapons, including multiple rocket launchers, long-range missiles and air defense systems, a “game changer” in their fight against Russia. These weapons helped slow the Russian advance in the east and supported Ukrainian counterattacks elsewhere.

Karl told the commission that the Pentagon does not expect Russia to make significant near-term progress in the coming months, describing the front line as a “shattering slog.”

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Ukraine has a ‘strong partner’s fist’ to back it amid Russian aggression: Zelensky

He also declined to say whether the US would send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

Biden has ruled out fighters for now, with Karl saying deliveries of existing F-16s could take 18 to 24 months, and new ones could take several more months. rice field.

He added that Ukraine wanted jets, but that was not their top priority.

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“It’s a priority for Ukrainians, but it’s not one of the top three priorities,” Karl said.

—With files from Associated Press and Reuters

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