Ukraine continues to make headlines for the wrong reasons as we will discuss in this article. What is perhaps most damning is the reluctance of US lawmakers to address those concerns and launch immediate and wide ranging investigations into the conduct of e.g. the DNC in these matters. According to classified assessments by US intelligence agencies, North Korea did indeed receive missile technology from Ukraine. It is our understanding that Poroshenko has now ordered an investigation to probe these allegations.
In further allegations, a US watchdog has accused the DNC of violating election rules by colluding with Ukrainian government officials to compile information on Trump. Furthermore, the Senate judiciary committee has asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to examine whether former DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) that governs work with foreign governments, by failing to register her cooperation with the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington. Allegations have been made that Chalupa told Ukrainian Embassy officials that if there was enough evidence on Manafort or Trump’s involvement with Russia, Congress would be in a position to hold a hearing by September.
She also allegedly met House Democrat Marcy Kaptur’s staffers to discuss a Congressional investigation and stated that the circulation of material on Trump’s alleged Russian connections would be beneficial to both the Clinton campaign and the Ukraine government.
In further developments, Andrei Derkach, a Ukrainian member of parliament, has demanded a criminal investigation into “illegal interference” by President Petro Poroshenko’s government in the 2016 US Presidential election, claiming the interference has “seriously damaged Ukrainian-American relations.”
Derkach asked authorities to launch a pre-trial investigation into potential meddling in the US election by senior members of Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, government officials and other public figures.
Previously, allegations of Ukraine meddling in US elections were made in the alternative media, which suggested that senior Ukrainian officials had interfered in the election to assist Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, although this was unsurprisingly largely overlooked. In addition, Poroshenko’s government was accused of trying to implicate a Trump aide in a corruption scheme and signing a contract with a Republican lobbying firm to strengthen US-Ukraine relations via meetings with government officials.
Derkach has added further fuel to the fire by suggesting that Ukrainian officials’ alleged exposure of multi-million dollar payments made by the former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was merely a smear campaign.
Officials claim to have discovered lists of payments from Yanukovych’s party to Manafort, amongst others. However, tellingly, Manafort’s signature does not appear on any documentation and neither have these documents even been verified. Understandably, Manafort denies all these allegations and receiving any payments.
There is no doubt that allegations surrounding Ukrainian officials have damaged US-Ukrainian relations, which may account for why US financial assistance to Ukraine was significantly reduced. Derkach rightly asserts that restoring trust with the US will require a thorough transparent investigation into the alleged Ukrainian interference in the US elections.
It remains to be seen what precise role Kurt Volker, Washington’s special envoy to Ukraine, will fulfil and whether these allegations will influence his negotiations with Kiev. Whilst Kiev has confirmed that a criminal investigation has been opened, their inquiry is said to be focused on whether Ukrainian authorities had defamed Manafort instead of ascertaining their precise culpability, or otherwise, of interference in the US election.
What is quite clear is that whilst the endless futile investigations carry on with respect to Russian interference, there is an ever growing need to switch the investigation to the precise involvement of Kiev in the US elections and perhaps outside that remit with respect to Russia itself.