Ukraine has yet to formally ‘lose’ the war against Russia following Moscow’s invasion in late February, but according to several of the country’s military veterans, it’s just a matter of time before that happens.
“The weapons are stolen, the humanitarian aid is stolen, and we have no idea where the billions sent to this country have gone,” one war vet told The Gray Zone in detailing what is happening to the massive aid being provided to Ukraine compliments of U.S. taxpayers.
The outlet added:
In a video sent via Facebook messenger in July, Ivan* can be seen standing next to his car, an early 2010s model Mitsubishi SUV. Smoke is pouring out of the rear window. Ivan laughs and pans his phone’s camera across the length of the vehicle, pointing out bullet holes. “The turbocharger died in my car,” he said, panning his phone toward the front of the vehicle. “My commander says I should pay to repair it myself. So to use my own car in the war, I need to buy a new turbocharger with my own money.”
Ivan flipped the camera toward his face. “Well, you f**king motherf**ker members of parliament, I hope you f**k each other. Devils. I wish you were in our place,” he said.
His angry assessment comes after Ukrainian members of parliament voted last month to give themselves a 70 percent increase, The Gray Zone reported, adding that according to documentation, they were able to do that because of billions in dollars and euros that have been sent to the country.
“We, the Ukrainian soldiers, have nothing,” Ivan told the outlet. “The things the soldiers have been given to use in the war came directly from volunteers. The aid that goes to our government will never reach us.”
Ivan said he’s been serving the Ukrainian army since 2014. At present, he is stationed in the Donbas region where he has to use small commercial-grade drones in order to locate Russian positions to be targeted by artillery.
“There are so many problems on the frontline now,” he said. “We don’t have an internet connection, which makes our work basically impossible. We have to drive to get a connection on mobile devices. Can you imagine?”
Another soldier in the same unit sent the outlet a video of himself crouched in a trench near the front lines in Donbas.
“According to documents, the government has built us a bunker here,” he noted in the video. “But as you see, there are only a few centimeters of a wood covering over our heads, and this is supposed to protect us from tank and artillery shelling.
“The Russians shell us for hours at a time. We dug these trenches ourselves. We have two AK-47s between 5 soldiers here, and they jam constantly because of all the dust,” he testified.
“I went to my commander and explained the situation. I told him it’s too hard to hold this position. I told him I understand this is a strategically important point, but our squad is broken, and no relief is coming for us. In 10 days, 15 soldiers died here, all from shelling and shrapnel. I asked the commander if we could bring some heavy equipment to build a better bunker and he refused, because he said the Russian shelling could damage the equipment. Does he not care that 15 of our soldiers died here?” the soldier asked.
“If you tried to explain the situation Ukrainian soldiers are facing to an American soldier, they would think you were insane,” Ivan said. “Imagine telling an American soldier that we are using our personal cars in the war, and we’re also responsible for paying for repairs and fuel.
“We’re buying our own body armor and helmets. We don’t have observation tools or cameras, so soldiers have to pop their heads out to see what’s coming, which means at any moment, a rocket or tank can tear their heads off,” he added.
Illya, 23, a soldier from Kyiv, also lamented the conditions.
“If I had known how much deception there was in this Army, and how everything would be for us, I never would have joined,” he said. “I want to go home, but if I flee, I face prison.”
He went on to say that he and other soldiers in his unit lack basic weapons and protective gear.
“In Ukraine, people cheat each other even in war. I’ve watched the medical supplies donated to us being taken away,” he said. “The cars that drove us to our position were stolen. And we have not been replaced with new soldiers in three months, though we should have been relieved three times by now.”
A U.S. doctor calling herself Samatha Morris also talked about the incessant corruption within Ukrainian borders.
“The first time I crossed the border from Poland, I had to hide my medical supplies under mattresses and diapers to prevent them from being stolen,” Morris, who is from Maine and went to Ukraine in May to teach soldiers medical care, said.
“The border guards on the Ukrainian side will just take things, and tell you, ‘we need this for our war,’ but then, they just steal the items and resell them. Honestly, if you don’t hand-deliver donations to the intended recipients, the items will never reach them,” she added.
“I got a call from a nurse at a military hospital in [the Ukrainian city of] Dnipro,” Morris went on. “She said the president of the hospital had stolen all the pain medications to resell them, and that the wounded soldiers being treated there had no pain relief. She begged us to hand-deliver pain medications to her. She said she would hide them from the hospital president so that they’d reach the soldiers. But who can you trust? Was the hospital president really stealing the medications, or was she trying to con us into giving her pain medications for her to sell or use? Who knows. Everyone is lying.”
The last thing American taxpayers should be doing is funding corrupt Ukraine, and yet, our leaders continue to print dollars and send them there to be wasted or stolen.