AP Highlights 'Ukraine's History Of Rampant Corruption' After US Lawmaker Slams Zelensky
Days after Politico reported that Republicans are freaking out because one of their own, Rep. Victoria Spartz, slammed the government of Ukraine and called for "proper oversight of critical infrastructure and delivery of weapons and aid," the Associated Press (aggregated by NPR, no less) has joined this very out-of-character departure from prevailing narratives peddled by mainstream outlets.
In short - it seems that MSM outlets agree that perhaps it's unwise to send unchecked billions in weapons and aid to a notoriously corrupt nation whose president, Volodomyr Zelensky, just fired their equivalent of their CIA director and Attorney General while accusing them of treason.
Wonder if the vaunted US intelligence services have any insight into why Zelensky just sacked the equivalent of his CIA Director and Attorney General and accused them of treason— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) July 19, 2022
Or, as AP puts it:
As it presses ahead with providing tens of billions of dollars in military, economic and direct financial support aid to Ukraine and encourages its allies to do the same, the Biden administration is now once again grappling with longstanding worries about Ukraine's suitability as a recipient of massive infusions of American aid.
Those issues, which date back decades and were not an insignificant part of former President Donald Trump's first impeachment, had been largely pushed to the back burner in the immediate run-up to Russia's invasion and during the first months of the conflict as the U.S. and its partners rallied to Ukraine's defense.
But Zelenskyy's weekend firings of his top prosecutor, intelligence chief and other senior officials have resurfaced those concerns and may have inadvertently given fresh attention to allegations of high-level corruption in Kyiv made by one outspoken U.S. lawmaker.
The article notes that high-profile Ukraine supporters on both sides of the aisle want to avoid a backlash that would make future packages of US taxpayer dollars more difficult to pass - while the Biden administration itself has been "pushing Zelenskyy to do more to act on corruption - a perennial US demand going back to Ukraine's early days of independence."
"In all of our relationships, and including in this relationship, we invest not in personalities; we invest in institutions, and, of course, President Zelenskyy has spoken to his rationale for making these personnel shifts," said State Department spokesman Ned Price in a Monday statement to reporters.
"...in October and then again in December 2021, as the U.S. and others were warning of the increasing potential for a Russian invasion, the Biden administration was calling out Zelenskyy's government for inaction on corruption that had little or nothing to do with Russia," AP notes.
"The EU and the US are greatly disappointed by unexplained and unjustifiable delays in the selection of the Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Office, a crucial body in the fight against high-level corruption," the US Embassy in Kiev said on Oct. 9, adding "We urge the selection commission to resume its work without further delays. Failure to move forward in the selection process undermines the work of anti-corruption agencies, established by Ukraine and its international partners."
As mentioned above, AP noted that Rep. Victoria Spartz - who's made a half-dozen visits to Ukraine since the star of the war (and was invited to the White House in May, where she received a pen used by Biden to sign an aid package) - has accused Zelensky of "playing politics," while also accusing a top Ukrainian official, Andriy Yermak, of corruption. She's repeatedly called on the Zelensky administration to appoint an anti-corruption prosecutor (like the one Joe Biden had fired in exchange for $1 Billion in US loan guarantees), and blamed Yermak for the delay.
The Ukrainians have hit back - accusing Spartz of spreading "Russian propaganda," and warned her to "stop trying to earn extra political capital on baseless speculation."