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Zelensky Embezzled $400 Million in American Aid, Buys Fuel From Russia, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Claims

Published: April 13, 2023
Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Poland's Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki (not seen) inspect Polish-made Rosomak armored vehicles and greet Polish soldiers before delivering a statement to the press at the Prime Minister Chancellery on April 05, 2023 in Warsaw, Poland. (Image: Omar Marques/Getty Images)

Pulitzer Prize winning American investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, says that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his aides have embezzled upwards of $400 million in American war aid intended to bolster Ukraine’s defense in the face of Russia’s invasion. 

Hersh also says that Zelensky’s war effort is procuring diesel fuel from none other than Russia, the country Ukraine is at war with, a war largely funded by the American taxpayer. 

“One estimate by analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency put the embezzled funds at $400 million last year, at least; another expert compared the level of corruption in Kiev as approaching that of the Afghan war, ‘although there will be no professional audit reports emerging from the Ukraine,’” Hersh wrote in a Substack post on the matter. 

Hersh, who had previously wrote an investigative article claiming that the U.S. was behind the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines, cited a “knowledgeable American intelligence official” as saying that “Zelensky’s been buying discount diesel from the Russians. And who’s paying for the gas and oil? We are. Putin and his oligarchs are making millions.”


He describes an environment where multiple Ukrainian government ministries are competing to set up front companies “for export contracts for weapons and ammunition with private arms dealers around the world, all of which provide kickbacks.”

The companies providing the kickbacks reside in countries such as Poland and Czechia with others suspected of being from the Persian Gulf and Israel. 

“I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there are others in places like the Cayman Islands and Panama, and there are lots of Americans involved,” an undisclosed expert on international trade told Hersh. 

Zelensky was reportedly confronted about rampant corruption within his ranks at a meeting last January with CIA Director William Burns. According to Hersh, Burns and other senior generals and government officials in Kiev were angry with Zelensky because of his greed. “He was taking a larger share of the skim money than was going to the generals,” Burns allegedly said. 

In response, Zelensky publicly dismissed 10 officials who had been flaunting their new found wealth in the streets of Ukraine.

“The ten he got rid of were brazenly bragging about the money they had — driving around Kiev in their new Mercedes,” the intelligence official told Hersh.