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MORGAN MURPHY: The Stench Of Ukraine Corruption Is Wafting Westward

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Morgan Murphy Morgan Murphy is military thought leader, captain in the U.S. Navy reserve, and former press secretary to the Secretary of Defense and national security advisor in the U.S. Senate
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Brooop-brooop. The chirp of the motorcade’s sirens didn’t merit much attention—Washington’s streets teem with police escorts, especially around Capitol Hill. But the black Mercedes S-Class sedan, shimmering in the summer of 2022’s heat, stood out. Weird, I thought. DC’s elite are usually in Chevys or Cadillac SUVs. Then the wife of Ukraine’s president, Olena Zelenskyy, stepped out.

If the American taxpayer could only see this, I thought. Along with the Mercedes, her suit, hair, and phalanx of assistants and bodyguards drew a distinctly different appearance than her husband’s green sweatsuits, a disaster casual look much fawned over by Western media. 

For that visit, the taps were wide open—$48.7 billion in American assistance dollars flowed in 2022. 

Hawks, following Senator Mitch McConnell, backed nearly unlimited funds. “Now is not the time to be risk-averse!” Senator Joni Ernst said from the Senate floor. “Best money we’ve ever spent,” said Senator Lindsey Graham. 

In March of 2022, just 11 senators and 57 congressmen voted against the $40 billion aid package. Their nay votes look wiser with each passing day. 

First off, the money: we’ve given Ukraine $113 billion bill thus far—equal to ten U.S.S. Gerald R. Fords. The United States could rebuild our entire aircraft carrier fleet for that sum. Because we’ve borrowed every cent, the total cost will be much higher. Now, 18 months later, a recent poll shows nearly half of all Americans believe we’ve spent enough. 

Yet this week, Zelenskyy again visited the White House and Congress with his hand out, even invoking Ronald Reagan along the way. He’s likely to get more funding, though it will take some border concessions from the Biden administration. 

A second concern is the escalating risk to national security. 

Former CIA director Leon Panetta inadvertently admitted, “We are using the Ukrainians as our proxy forces.” 

It may be a proxy war for us, but the conflict is assuredly an existential threat to Vladimir Putin and Russia. This week, a leaked classified report claimed that Russia has lost 315,000 troops. The “leak” is likely no accident. DC hawks see large Russian casualties as proof of America’s good investment. Americans can’t even comprehend such staggering figures. We lost 416,000 troops in all of World War II. Those ignorant to Russian history may be tempted to think, surely the Russians can’t sustain this pace. 

They’re wrong. The Soviets lost 1.1 million soldiers in one battle alone, Stalingrad. And like World War II, Russians see the fight with Ukraine as a stand against the West and fascism, which is why 8 out of 10 Russians support the war and Putin himself. As a result, expect Russian men and materiel to continue to pour into Ukraine. And in the unlikely event of a major Russian setback, American policymakers should not rule out nuclear escalation. Russia, not the USA, boasts the world’s largest and most advanced nuclear stockpiles. 

Third, American military readiness is at stake. 

At the most basic level, the war is being fought with artillery. At present, the Army is procuring 28,000 155 mm rounds a month, with goals to double that figure by next year. Meanwhile, Ukraine is burning through up to 9,000 155 mm rounds per day. Even under the rosiest scenarios, Ukraine is firing through our reserve munitions at an alarming rate, dipping below the minimum stockpiles needed to prosecute a conflict. 

President Biden admitted this reality this summer when he said of the 155 mm round, “we’re low on it.”

Should the United States get into yet another war in the Middle East, or worse, with China, we’ll be out of munitions within days of the outbreak of hostilities.

Lastly, the stench of Ukraine corruption is wafting westward. 

Ukraine is not a liberal democracy, or even an illiberal one. When then-president Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal to associate with the European Union in late 2013, America went into overdrive to change the outcome. “The extent of the Obama administration’s meddling in Ukraine’s politics was breathtaking,” said the CATO Institute

The resulting coup kicked off a series of escalating events: the ejection of Yanukovych, election of the pro-West Petro Poroshenko, and an armed-separatist insurgency in the Russian-speaking Donbas region. 

In early 2014, while American politicians like John McCain were over-promising Ukrainians, “America is with you,” Hunter Biden joined the board of the Ukrainian oil and gas company. It was his access to DC power, not his oil and gas expertise, that earned Hunter a $1 million annual salary from Burisma. (RELATED: MORGAN MURPHY: The Military Does An About-Face After Woke Garbage Tanks Recruiting)

Two years later, in 2016, that salary paid dividends. Burisma came under the eye of Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin. The Kyiv Post reported in February 2016 that Shokin nailed Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, seizing his homes and Rolls Royce. 

The very next month, Vice President Biden visited Ukraine and told President Poroshenko that the U.S. would pull $1 billion in loan guarantees if he didn’t immediately sack Shokin. 

“I said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch, he got fired,” Biden later bragged. 

In 2019, President Trump asked newly-elected Voloydymyr Zelenskyy to look into those events, “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son and that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.” 

These words were the basis of President Trump’s first impeachment trial. The subsequent media dereliction of duty on Ukraine led to Hunter and his father’s actions being hid from the electorate in 2020. 

The most corrupt nation in Europe keeps finding its way into American political scandals. That reason is money. 

As Republicans continue to vote for Ukraine funding, they would do well to consider the risks. 

Morgan Murphy, former Pentagon press secretary and national security adviser in the U.S. Senate, is the author of five books, including Bourbon & Bacon. He is a veteran of Afghanistan and the host of “Tastes of Victory.”

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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