Resolute Square

On Corruption: Trust A Terrorist State, Or Your Own Eyes?

Russia illegally and violently invaded its peaceful neighbor, again. Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, an American serving with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, takes on Russian disinformation targeting US citizens, including Congress.
Credit: Russian State TV
Published:November 29, 2022

Decades of Disinformation.

Eight-plus years of war against a sovereign neighbor.

Nine months of relentless terrorism against 40 million plus civilians.

When viewed together or separated into individual events, the above acts orchestrated by the Putin regime on behalf of an imperialistic Russian Federation should disqualify anything published, pushed, or otherwise endorsed by them through the media.

Yet, over and over, the lies of Moscow manage to seep into the general narrative surrounding their full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The latest, an attempt at sowing discord and doubt among Ukraine’s steadfast allies, is the whisper campaign suggesting a demonstrably false yet utterly damaging narrative.

Russia and its allies have managed to dupe otherwise intelligent policymakers into believing there may be some truth to the notion that military aid is being diverted away from the frontline and instead is being used to line the pockets of nameless individuals.

This summer, two ministerial-level Ukrainian leaders directly disputed the claims in an attempt to stem any doubts.

Defense minister Oleksiy Reznikov was quoted in the Financial Times as saying, “We have no reason to smuggle arms out of Ukraine.” He followed that up in an appearance in front of the Atlantic Council, reminding listeners, “since day one, we have worked in close cooperation with our partners to ensure full transparency.”

Dmytro Kuleba, the nation’s Foreign Minister, also addressed the allegations, and in doing so, placed the origin of them directly at the feet of the Russian war criminals, telling Forbes, that, in fact, the lone possible culprit involved in illicit arms dealing was the Russians themselves. Kuleba made clear, “The only source of potential arms smuggling from the territory of Ukraine is the armed forces of the Russian Federation.”

Yet, despite a retraction by legacy US media outlet CBS involving this subject, the rumors still persist.

Last week, in a video viewed by over 200,000 people, I made the announcement that I would be traveling back to the United States, as a member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, in order to address leaders across Washington DC.

While ostensibly the subject matter was to focus on the topic of combat medicine, and frontline medical care, in addition to my general experiences as a line zero war correspondent, messages from multiple parties started coming in from the other side of the Atlantic asking if I would address the topic of Ukrainian weapons aid from allied nations and whether the systems and equipment being provided to the Armed Forces of Ukraine are disappearing.

While I defer to my civilian and military leadership on the intricacies of aid, I can state, unequivocally, that not only are donor countries' weapons being utilized as intended, a robust monitoring system is in place to show where and how they are being used.

As a US citizen, I appreciate the need for proper stewardship of the taxpayer’s dollars and the necessary congressional oversight to ensure that there is no waste of the voters' hard-earned dollars.

As a US citizen, I also offer this opinion, one that has been garnered from spending nine months in the midst of Europe’s largest land war since 1945. The money being spent on Ukraine’s inevitable victory is the most efficient use of foreign aid, with the highest return on investment, since World War 2.

Ukraine's defeat of the fascist Russian state will be a victory for the dual pillars of Freedom and Liberty. Those ideals are buttressed by the need for transparency, transparency across government, media, and society as a whole, a radical transparency the likes of which Americans can not only embrace but champion as a value familiar to themselves.

In that vein, it is important to remind all those who are in a position to question Ukraine’s use of US military aid, to visit the country and see the weapons in use, to sit down with the nation's leaders and ask the hard questions face to face, to understand the hows and whys Ukraine is every bit the steward of US taxpayer dollars as are the members of Congress who are valiantly standing with Ukraine in our war against tyrannical oppression and for a lasting democracy in the center of Europe.

Simply put, come and say, “Hello, Ukraine.” If you do, you’ll never doubt it again.