Nearly $500 Million in Ukraine Aid Has Been Embezzled or Stolen

( РUkrainian officials have launched a series of investigations into the alleged theft or embezzlement of nearly $500 million of aid. The aid was intended for the country’s defensive efforts against Russia, which began its invasion in February 2022.

Ukraine has been given billions of dollars from the U.S. as well as by allies across Europe, Asia, and Australasia. The U.S. has by far been the largest donor, having so far allocated approximately $175 billion of aid to date. How this aid should be used and how well it should be accounted for has been a hot topic in Congress and the Senate, with Sen. Paul Rand (R-KY) a particular advocate for including close scrutiny of expenditure in any Ukraine aid bill.

As Russia continues to push from the east, some Ukrainian authorities are expressing concern as to where the aid has gone. Ukrainian politician Mikhail Bondar told the press that criminal investigations were underway to establish what happened to $500 million that should have been put towards defense and fortifications to hold the Russians back. Instead, that money is alleged to have been funneled away from its agreed use, and the Russians have continued to take more land in the Kharkiv region near the border.

Some Ukrainian anti-corruption activists have pointed to Kharkiv officials as being prolific embezzlers, accusing them of being responsible for the diversion of $175 million that should have been used to fortify their areas. Instead, the Russians have been able to advance with little to stop them. Ukrainian media reported that millions of dollars were paid to companies that do not exist, supposedly to pay for the construction of defensive fortifications.

Bondar says that there are now 30 separate investigations looking into the missing $500 million. He and his colleagues have urged military and defense ministry authorities to submit reports on their spending to determine who has been using the aid budget correctly.

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