Kiev has endemic and persistent problems with bribery, theft, and embezzlement the US military has said FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian soldiers load a US-made MK-19 automatic grenade launcher © Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP

The conflict with Russia has created new opportunities for bribes, kickbacks and theft in Ukraine, the US military’s inspector general told Congress in the quarterly report on the $113 billion in aid sent to Kiev.

Department of Defense Inspector General Robert Storch also serves as the special inspector for Operation Atlantic Resolve, the US-led operation to arm Ukraine.

“The ongoing war with Russia has created new opportunities for corruption, with several recent scandals within the defense sector revealing the misuse of wartime resources and weapons procurement funds,” the report said.

“Endemic corruption persists” in Ukraine, which remains “one of the least accountable governments in Europe,” according to the Pentagon’s inspector-general.

“Bribes, kickbacks, and inflated procurement costs are common risks for corruption within the Ministry of Defense,” leading to purchases of “inferior equipment” or “diversion of funds” intended for food and ammunition, according to the report.

Ukrainian military stole money intended for fortifications – local media Ukrainian military stole money intended for fortifications – local media

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Ukrainian military stole money intended for fortifications – local media

Earlier this week, Ukrainian media reported the claims of one anti-corruption activist that Kharkov Region authorities embezzled or stole 7 billion hryvnias ($176.5 million) they were given to build fortifications along the border. The lack of defenses has resulted in Russian troops overrunning a dozen settlements in short order.

No-bid contracts worth millions were given to cronies or freshly created companies run by people with criminal records, Martina Boguslavets wrote in Ukrainska Pravda.

According to the Pentagon, Transparency International ranked Ukraine 144th out of 177 countries back in 2014. Kiev has since improved, taking the 104th place out of 180 countries in the 2023 annual global Corruption Perceptions Index.

Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) has investigated “several high-ranking officials in the government and judiciary accused of accepting bribes and embezzling worth more than $100 million,” Storch’s report said, citing the US State Department.

Washington has urged Kiev to expand anti-corruption measures by giving the NABU independent forensic capabilities and the ability to spy on Ukrainians independently of the SBU security service, Storch revealed.

The inspector-general’s report looked at the $113 billion in aid appropriated for Ukraine by the end of March 2024. Along with direct military and humanitarian aid to Kiev, this amount includes “security assistance to NATO allies and other partners, funding to support the US military presence in Europe, and the replenishment of military stocks provided to the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” Storch noted. (RT)