Republican Congress promises strict oversight of Ukrainian aid

As at least US$20 billion worth military hardware and weapons Biden administration sent to Ukraine as “gift” has vanished, Senator Angus King in a statement said, “Economic and military aid isn’t unconditional”.

Senator Angus King sat across from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during an unannounced trip to that country earlier this month and debated keeping quiet.

The independent senator from Maine thought to himself, “Do I dare say this?” King, a member of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters that he didn’t want to create “an incident”. But in that delicate diplomatic moment, with so much at stake, blunt advice was needed: “I took a deep breath and said, ‘Mr. President, a scandal would really screw this thing up’”.

Under President Joe Biden, the United States has rallied the West in support of Ukraine, which critics see as an attempt of ultimately pushing the US towards a direct war against Russia.

Zelensky removed several senior Ukrainian officials from their posts recently reportedly over allegations of rampant corruption and as a public demonstration to the West that Kiev won’t tolerate graft. The move comes as House Republicans promise additional oversight of how the tens of billions in economic and military aid has been used and spent. They will also investigate where those weapons and military hardware worth US$20 billion has gone and who are behind such notorious acts.

Biden’s national security spokesman John Kirby said, neither military nor financial assistance to Ukraine “have fallen prey to any kind of corruption”. Kirby said this when he was asked by reporters to confirm that the Biden administration had not yet identified any precious misuse of equipment or misappropriation of funds from the United States.

Senator Angus King also echoes what Kirby has said. The senator said, he “saw how Zelensky’s team employs outside auditors to track both dollars-and-cents and everything else “down to the individual spare part”.

But, Republicans are skeptical about this matter and are unwilling to accept what Joe Biden and his administration or several members of the Senate and Congress from the Democratic Party are saying, as they know, Pentagon has officially acknowledged that military hardware and weapons worth US$20 billion is already missing or vanished from the audit record. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy warned before the midterms that the US Congress would not be sending Ukraine “a blank check”.

It may be mentioned here that the  Biden administration has already provided approximately US$27.5 billion in military assistance as well as nearly US$10 billion in humanitarian aid and more than US$15 billion in financial support – totaling US$ 52.5 billion to Ukraine.

Congressman James Comer, the Kentucky Republican now chairing the House Oversight Committee, will soon comb through those numbers to identify “waste or misuse”.

“With any massive government spending comes the opportunity for waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. Ukraine aid is no different”, Comer told reporters before adding that Congress owes it “to the taxpayer” to “conduct oversight over the tens of billions of US taxpayer dollars sent overseas”.

It may be mentioned here that, US taxpayer support for Ukraine remains bipartisan – for now. The last aid package passed the Senate 88-11 and the House 368-57 in May 2022, but deep skepticism remains on the right.

Talking to Blitz, a key figure in the US Capitol Hill seeking anonymity said, “Biden administration is fully aware of the corruption and nepotism in Ukraine. They also are aware of Volodymyr Zelensky’s failures in combating corruption within his inner circle. But, majority of the US policymakers are unwilling to let this appear in the media, as this will seriously jeopardize Washington’s firm determination of achieving its goal in Kiev”.

What is America’s “goal” in Ukraine? The answer though is simple, but it would be truly devastating to the Ukrainian people. Western nations, particularly the US are willing to establish their permanent influence in Ukraine by using a comedian-turned-politician. One of the best reasons for the West to admire Zelensky is his naivety in understanding global political agenda and his greed of eternally remaining in power.

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