FILE PHOTO: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a joint news briefing with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine January 24, 2023. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic and Republican U.S. lawmakers praised Ukraine’s government on Tuesday for taking swift action against corruption and insisted that U.S. military and humanitarian aid to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government should continue.
A slew of senior Ukrainian officials were dismissed on Tuesday in Ukraine’s biggest political shake-up of the war so far, which Kyiv said showed Zelenskiy was in tune with his public following corruption allegations.
“It’s a defining moment for Ukraine. It’s a defining moment for all of us, Germany, the United States, all of our allies. We expect that President Zelenskiy will follow through with a promise he made that Ukraine is going to change on the corruption front,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told a news conference days after returning from Kyiv.
“We’re confident this is a first step in a long journey to change the way business is done,” Graham said.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who was also on the trip, said the dismissals were important. “It demonstrates what President Zelenskiy has told us, that there will be zero tolerance for fraud or waste,” he said.
Blumenthal said there was no indication that U.S. equipment was involved.
“All of the scrutiny and oversight so far has disclosed no fraud or waste, no misappropriation of any of the military or humanitarian assistance that have been provided so far,” Blumenthal said.
Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who was also on the Kyiv trip, praised the Ukrainian military for keeping track of equipment provided by Washington. “They know that we need to have that confidence in America,” Whitehouse said.
The three senators said U.S. aid to Ukraine should continue. “I know we’re tired of being involved in conflicts outside of our country, but everything we hold near and dear as a country is at stake,” Graham said.