Before the impeachment, which ended on Wednesday with acquittal of Donald trump, the US allocated $391 million for military assistance to Ukraine, which the President soon ordered to detain, writes BuzzFeed News.
Eventually in September last year the money was sent to Ukraine, but this case with a delay of funds allocated for military assistance for Ukraine, were not isolated. As it became known, several direct commercial transactions for the sale of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine had been suspended for unknown reasons and remain suspended a few months later. Now, after a long wait and an advance in the amount of tens of millions of dollars, Kiev wants to get their money back.
Three Ukrainian official and a former senior US official directly aware of the sales, I believe that the trump is currently refusing to approve at least six commercial orders for the supply of arms and ammunition from American companies in Ukraine totaling about $30 million, shattering the already fragile relations between the two countries. All four officials said that five of the expected transactions from American companies was postponed for about a year, and one of the transactions were suspended for more than a year. Officials said that was unable to get any answers from the administration to trump about why the transaction for proof of which usually requires about two months, and which must be licensed by the State Department, did not receive confirmation.
“Perhaps, Ukrainians would be wise to look for other sources to purchase arms and ammunition”, — said the American official, who asked high-ranking officials of the White house about the reasons for the delay and got the answer that the sale of weapons still “evaluated”, despite the fact that the Ukrainians have already paid for them.
The U.S. Embassy in Kiev refused to comment on this issue, and the White house and State Department did not respond to requests for comment. Ukroboronprom, the Ukrainian state arms conglomerate and the official buyer of all weapons and ammunition — also declined to comment.
Two Ukrainian officials who spoke with BuzzFeed News, believe that delays could be associated with the attempt of China to buy strategic Ukrainian aerospace company, this deal, the US tried to block. This increases the likelihood that Kiev will be drawn into a game of power between Beijing and Washington.
About the delay in the sale of ammunition to Ukraine worth $10 million first reported in Yahoo News in September, when gaining momentum the petition of the Democrats about the impeachment.
Ukrainian and American officials agreed to speak to BuzzFeed News, because I think that buying weapons is vital for national security of Ukraine in conflict with Russia and separatists in the East of the country. This deal would also strengthen the position of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, because it achieves a lasting peace with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the officials wished to remain anonymous because they do not have the authority to issue such information to the media.
Direct commercial sales in the US are mediated by private companies and foreign buyers, but must be licensed by the State Department. In the past Ukraine has already several times to buy weapons from American companies. According to one of the Ukrainian officials who are directly involved in such transactions, for approval of sales of this kind usually requires one to two months.
“It’s never a completely smooth process, but now it takes several additional months,” — said Ukrainian official. — “This trend is slowing down”.
According to the two Ukrainian officials, the purchase of munitions export license for which was submitted to the state Department in November 2018, is the largest and most important of the six purchases. Ukraine has lost one of its plants for the production of ammunition, when forces supported by Russia, took control of a large territory in the Eastern part of the Luhansk region. Since the explosions, which the government ascribes to the Russian sabotage, destroying several ammunition depots.
According to one of the Ukrainian officials, others buy weapons that were paid in the period from January to March 2019, includes the weapons needed by the Ukrainian forces to conduct trench warfare. Two of Ukrainian officials and the U.S. representative stated that other arms deals included machine guns, sniper rifles and pistols, as well as night vision devices and other equipment that use every day the soldiers and security forces of the country.
The war in the East of Ukraine since its inception in 2014 has destroyed entire cities and infrastructure. Also killed about 14,000 people and nearly 2 million people have moved from these regions. The agreement on ceasefire, signed in February 2015, will stop the fierce tank battles and artillery systems of volley fire, but the soldiers on the front lines continue to conduct trench warfare, which involves the use of mortar systems, and snipers. On average, two or three Ukrainian soldiers die every week.
Since the beginning of the war, the United States has provided Ukraine with about $1.6 billion in aid in the field of security, including anti-tank missiles Javelin, approved by the administration trump. The trump touting it, saying last month in Davos that President Barack Obama gave Ukraine “pillows, sheets and the like, and I gave them weapons against the tanks.”
But as part of the contract and these rockets had to be stored far from the front lines. But on the battlefield really matters non-lethal aid delivered under the auspices of Obama.
Three Ukrainian officials said they asked questions to the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, the state Department and senior U.S. officials visiting the country, but are unable to get a straight answer why is delay of delivery of the weapon. Two of the Ukrainians said that since the beginning of the impeachment process their requests were ignored by U.S. officials. Third, the Ukrainian official said that he received responses only in the spirit of “ask us later” when he asked later, he still responded the same way.
Three Ukrainian officials could not say whether the delay of weapons and ammunition directly related to demand trump that Zelensky has started an investigation against the former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son hunter, as well as other refuted theory, which says that Ukraine interfered in elections in 2016, on the side of Hillary Clinton. But because sales were delayed to the infamous telephone conversation trump on 25 July, Zelensky, it is likely that there are other reasons.
One of the Ukrainians said that, in his opinion, delays may be associated with the corruption caused by the scandal of military procurement, which was attended by allies of the former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko at the beginning of last year, and the accounting scandals of the past in the defence sector of the country.
Another Ukrainian official said that the US wants to Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine adopted a decision in its favor concerning the forthcoming sale of “Motor Sich” Chinese strategic aerospace company. “Motor Sich — the reason for the delays in sales,” said the official.
In 2017, the Chinese company Beijing Aviation Skyrizon tried to buy a controlling stake in the company “Motor Sich” — one of the world’s leading manufacturers of helicopters and aircraft engines, to help modernize its armed forces. The offer came when the “Motor Sich” struggling to survive after losing a major market, when Kiev has banned military exports to Russia after it annexed the Crimea and sparked a war in the East. But in 2018, the Ukrainian security Service raided the plant “Motor Sich” from soobrazheniia national security, and a Ukrainian court has frozen the transaction. She remains in limbo, but the United States would like to have it completely cancelled, said the Ukrainian official who meets regularly with U.S. officials in Kiev and Washington.
Third Ukrainian officials and an American official said that the delay probably was caused by bureaucratic reasons, although they can’t exactly say what is happening in the moment.
“It will be difficult to explain why the sale was postponed”, — said about his American government official.