Ukrainian President, entourage embezzled USD 400 mn from fuel purchases aid: Report

Washington: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his entourage have embezzled at least USD 400 million, which was sent to the country for the purchase of diesel fuel, reported Russian news agency TASS citing US Journalist Seymour Hersh's website.

On his website, Hersh, citing sources, claimed, "The Ukrainian president and many in his entourage have been skimming untold millions from the American dollars earmarked for diesel fuel payments. One estimate by analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency put the embezzled funds at USD 400 million last year, at least."

The level of corruption in Kyiv is "approaching that of the Afghan war, although there will be no professional audit reports emerging from Ukraine," according to Hersh's sources

Hersh's sources blamed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan for the ongoing crisis in the US government, which allegedly suffers from discord between the White House and the intelligence community.

The two top foreign policy officials have shown "strident ideology and lack of political skill" over the Ukraine conflict, according to RT, Russian Television, citing Hersh's sources.

The US has been helping Ukraine since Russia started its special military operation on February 24, 2022.

Last month, the US said they will send Ukraine USD 350 million in weapons and equipment as the battle with Russian forces continues for control of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

"Today, pursuant to a delegation of authority from President Biden, I am authorising our 34th drawdown of U.S. arms and equipment for Ukraine valued at USD 350 million," said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement issued by the US State Department on Monday.

"This military assistance package includes more ammunition for US-provided HIMARS and howitzers that Ukraine is using to defend itself, as well as ammunition for Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, HARM missiles, anti-tank weapons, riverine boats, and other equipment," the statement read.

The US applauds the more than 50 countries that have come together to provide support for Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity, the statement read.

"This week, as Russia's unconscionable war of aggression against Ukraine continues at a great human cost, we are again reminded of the boundless courage and steadfast resolve of the Ukrainian people, and the strong support for Ukraine across the international community," Blinken said.

He added: "Russia alone could end its war today. Until Russia does, we will stand united with Ukraine for as long as it takes."

Meanwhile, in February, the US announced a new security package plan, including authorisation of a Presidential Drawdown of security assistance valued at upto USD 425 million, as well as USD 1.75 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds, according to the statement released by US Defence Department.

The package pulled USD 425 million from existing Defence Department stocks, and USD 1.75 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds. The new package marks USD 29.3 billion provided to Ukraine since Russia's started its military operation last February.

( Source : ANI )
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