On 31 January, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov held a meeting with US Inspector General of the Department of Defense Robert Storch in Kyiv.
The visit comes while Republicans in the House of Representatives continue to block a $66 billion aid package to Ukraine amid partisan squabbling ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.
In December 2023, Czech President Petr Pavel said Russian President Vladimir Putin is counting on the victory of Donal Trump in the 2024 US elections to negotiate with him on the future of the Russia-Ukraine war without the involvement of any European state, as per EurActiv.com. Trump himself said that as president, he would be able to resolve the Ukraine war in one day.
These facts may suggest that the former US president plans to decide the fate of Ukraine with Putin without taking into account Ukraine’s views on how to end Russia’s war. Therefore, the possible lack of assistance to Ukraine may be a way to leave the country without options during the possible negotiations between the two leaders.
During the meeting, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov briefed the American delegation on ongoing institutional transformations within the Ministry, including the implementation of a robust oversight system, risk management, compliance, and anti-corruption measures in procurement, alongside the introduction of democratic control tools in the defense sector.
Umerov also expressed confidence that by the end of April, all supervisory mechanisms would be fully operational, underscoring the Ministry’s commitment to enhancing control and transparency, particularly in the use of security aid provided by Ukraine’s allies.
At the meeting, Storch signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Ukraine’s Main Inspection of the Ministry of Defense and the Office of the General Inspector of the US Department of Defense, aiming to strengthen cooperation in overseeing the use of international assistance.
The memorandum outlines provisions for information exchange to identify, confirm, and prevent fraud or corruption related to US security aid to Ukraine, joint efforts to combat fraud, the establishment of a mutual request mechanism for investigations, and meetings to define collaborative priorities.
The Ukrainian signatory was Admiral Igor Voronchenko, the Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Defense.
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