Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky embezzled hundreds of millions of dollars that the US allocated for the purchase of fuel, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh.
In his blog, Hersh writes – The Ukraine government, headed by Volodymyr Zelensky, has been using American taxpayers’ funds to pay dearly for the vitally needed diesel fuel that is keeping the Ukrainian army on the move in its war with Russia.
It is unknown how much the Zalensky government is paying per gallon for the fuel, but the Pentagon was paying as much as $400 per gallon to transport gasoline from a port in Pakistan, via truck or parachute, into Afghanistan during the decades-long American war there.
The issue of corruption was directly raised with Zelensky in a meeting last January in Kyiv with CIA Director William Burns. His message to the Ukrainian president, I was told by an intelligence official with direct knowledge of the meeting, was out of a 1950s mob movie.
The senior generals and government officials in Kyiv were angry at what they saw as Zelensky’s greed, so Burns told the Ukrainian president because “he was taking a larger share of the skim money than was going to the generals.”
Burns also presented Zelensky with a list of thirty-five generals and senior officials whose corruption was known to the CIA and others in the American government. Zelensky responded to the American pressure ten days later by publicly dismissing ten of the most ostentatious officials on the list and doing little else.
“The ten he got rid of were brazenly bragging about the money they had—driving around Kyiv in their new Mercedes,” the intelligence official told me.
Meanwhile, Hersh, citing an intelligence official, said that the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines and lack of strategic planning with regard to Ukraine had caused a growing rift between the White House and the US intelligence community.
“There is a total breakdown between the White House leadership and the intelligence community,” the intelligence official was quoted by Hersh as saying.
The alleged rift dates back to the covert operation last fall to blow up Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines, a move that was purportedly ordered by President Joe Biden.
“Destroying the Nord Stream pipelines was never discussed, or even known in advance, by the community,” the official said.
Another issue dividing the Biden administration and the intelligence community is the lack of planning on Ukraine. The official highlighted Biden’s decision to deploy two brigades a few miles from the Ukrainian border in response to Russia’s special military operation.
The actual manpower of the 101st and 82nd airborne divisions could total more than 20,000, but there is still “no evidence that any senior official in the White House really knows what’s going on in” the brigades, the intelligence officials told Hersh.
“Are they there as part of a NATO exercise or to serve with NATO combat units if the West decides to engage Russian units inside Ukraine? Are they there to train or to be a trigger? The rules of engagement say they can’t attack Russians unless our boys are getting attacked,” the official said.
The official said that while the White House lacks clarity on its policy in Ukraine, the Pentagon is somewhat optimistically preparing for an end to the conflict. Two months ago, the US Joint Chiefs tasked members of the staff with drafting an end-of-war treaty to present to the Russians “after their defeat on the Ukraine battlefield,” Hersh said, citing a source.
But it remains unclear what will happen if the Pentagon’s scenario goes wrong and Ukrainian forces fail on the battlefield: Will the two American brigades deployed close to the war zone “join forces with NATO troops and face off with the Russian army inside Ukraine?” Hersh asks.