Report: U.S. MREs Delivered To Support Ukrainian Military Being Sold on Black Market

250px-MRE_20071124As the United States continues to grapple with openly corrupt officials and businesses in Afghanistan and Iraq who have stolen billions in aid, the notoriously corrupt Ukrainian system appears eager to outdo their counterparts. The poster boy of Ukrainian corruption is Vladimir Belonog who has been openly selling meals ready to eat (MREs) that were shipping only days before to the country to support its besieged military. Belonog is selling the MREs with the U.S. markings still on them and the warning “U.S. Government Property, commercial resale is unlawful.” What is most remarkable is that he has not been arrested after selling the aid in plain view of the government. Diplomats and experts have described Ukraine under Presidents Kuchma and Yushchenko as a virtual kleptocracy, or government of thieves.

The United States and its European allies are about to pour billions into one of the most corrupt governments in Europe. Belonog is an example of the utter depravity of these dealers. His county is threatened with attack. It has lost a huge chunk of territory to Russia. Yet, Belonog is siphoning off military aid to feather his own nest — clearly with the assistance of Ukrainian public officials. Corruption is so acceptable that he even gave an interview for the article below — though he removed the MREs off his page after the TIME interview.

In 2012, Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Ukraine was ranked 144th out of the 176 countries as one of the most corrupt nations in the world — tied with such countries as Bangladesh, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Syria). That same year, Ernst & Young ranked Ukraine among the three most corrupt nations of the world. Sounds perfect for U.S. aid given our allies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

220px-JTF_RitaUkrainian media is reporting that MREs were being sold by the caseload almost immediately after they were delivered to the Ukraine. What is distressing is that this was the easy stuff to secure. It was a relatively small shipment in comparison to billions coming down pipeline. Yet, despite the infusion of MREs on the open market, Alexei Mazepa, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, insists that “The meals are safe and sound at our warehouses in Kiev. They have not even been distributed to the bases yet.” Hmmmm.

Source: Time

97 thoughts on “Report: U.S. MREs Delivered To Support Ukrainian Military Being Sold on Black Market

  1. Whle this is certainly bad on this individual’s part and those who assisted him I don’t know how predictive it will be of the entirety of the Ukraine, though the nation’s recent past is certainly horrible with regard to corruption.

    It is certainly incumbent upon the international community to account for whatever aid package is provided.

  2. Well since the West and many folks on this site supported the fascist led coup that overthrew Yasonovych, I fail to see why this should be cause for concern. You KNEW that this government was illegally formed, supported the coup, and then turn around and complain that Putin was not following international law! You made your bed, and climbed in with your bedfellows, so stop complaining. I suggest that you stick to some principles for a change, and then I might have some sympathy for your position.

    I would also urge you to make your voices heard in the Congress to stop aid to this fascist regime. They had a deal with Russia that would have bailed the Ukraine out,, but you decided to support overthrowing that government in favor of this one. I am rather upset that it is my tax dollars that will be stolen, and put in the Swiss bank accounts of the Ukrainian fascists. Enjoy your Nazi buddies!

  3. We rush through a billion dollars in aid to the Ukraine while our own unemployed languish. I guess the contractor who sold the meals was more important than our citizens thanks Congress!

  4. Well, you can’t write off a whole society because of the corruption of their so-called leaders.

    Russia is the current king of corruption where everything is controlled by a small group of oligarchs who are personally loyal to the acknowledged dictator.

    Clearly association with the EU is the best course of action and will at least help to bring the country up to European standards. (We might call that ‘ordinary corruption’.)

  5. What Justice Holmes said. It is not unusual for MRE’s to end up on the Black Market, but this transfer is being done so boldly that common sense would suggest a halt to any other supplies or money. However, Common Sense is not a popular attribute in DC.

  6. Another admonishment and prediction of Ron Paul coming to pass, as it is his son’s Rand.
    They are warning us to keep out of that mess, they said there would be the same kind of corruption and stealing of US aid.
    I suspected they were right, but I didn’t think it would be this fast.
    Imagine what will happen when the good stuff start coming through, and the privateers there get their sea legs on. Booty for all.

  7. Dan,Given the fact that the EU could not or would not support the agreement with the former government that was illegally overthrown with the backing of the EU and the US, to think that they would curb the corruption is absurd. They were the SPONSORS of this. They are simply buying off the ruling oligarchs in the Ukraine to feather their own nests.

    The real comparison with Hitler is the EU and the USA, trying to annex the Ukraine into their system just as Hitler did the Anschluss with Austria. This is even more appropriate since the EU and the USA have REAL NAZIS on their side. Hope you like to say Sieg Heil to your buddies. At least some folks in the West are telling the truth about who and what the EU and the US are doing. I have yet to see any justification from the pro-EU side as to why they think it is good to support their buddies. Instead they keep quiet or try and hide the facts.

  8. And as I’ve said…. We need to just sit this one out…. Now how much did the preparer of the MRE get paid for these and you’ll find out why we are involved in these….. War for profit….

  9. Both Kuchma and Yushchenko had been members of the politburo, the old Soviet guard, who lived in luxury while 90% of the working population stood in bread lines. Fed up, the people of ukraine finally through their asses out. It is probably going to happen here in the US one day too. If you would be one who stands by the corruption, we will then know that you’re one who is already working the system. The people of ukraine are a warm, generous, docile people, unlike their crude Russian counterpart whose genes have not yet been cleansed of the Bolshevik insanity. Even Putin himself in his speech of March 18 admitted the past injustices inflicted on the Ukrainian people, including intentional starvation that eclipsed the Holocaust in numbers perished. He merely brushed it off by saying that we must move forward. Lots of wild comments here demonstrating just how ignorant so many of us are of the Ukrainian and Soviet history.

  10. Government aid, no matter where, or for what reason, is always steeped in fraud. It’s “free” shit, just like the “free” healthcare in Canada.

  11. Samantha said, “…lived in luxury while 90% of the working population stood in bread lines. Fed up, the people of ukraine finally through their asses out. It is probably going to happen here in the US one day too..”

    Has there ever been a culture where it wasn’t the case that “leaders” lived in luxury mooching off of the 90% of the population who does all the work and lives frugally? Maybe that occurs with primitive tribes because leadership is far more transparent. We too might gain the transparency that constrains corruption if all “leaders” can be placed under constant surveillance and surveillance reports made available to the public.

  12. Actually, dog lover, the standard of living for Native American Chiefs, rose and fell with the tide of the environment. You may recall that our constitution was modeled after the wisdom of native american people who’s women, by the way, voted equally alongside men.

  13. Samantha, I may not be an expert on the Ukraine and on Russia or the former Soviet Republic but I do know a couple of things about seeing my taxes going down the drain to another country at the very bottom of the index on corruption. Afghanistan sucked up our hard-earned tax monies and in the end, just as it will happen in the Ukraine, only a minority will enrich themselves and I’m sick and tired of this. You describe the Ukranian people as warm, docile and generous. I can describe the American people in the same terms, just as most Afghan people were. I am an immigrant here in the US and I am very guilty of being very critical of the American administrations during the 33 years of my being here. I am not apologetic about it and it includes both the left and the right. I am however foremost concerned about my American-born daughter and those Americans who, through no fault of their own, have fallen on hard times or were born right into those bad times: children, the sick, the elderly, the disabled, single mothers and fathers, the mentally ill… They deserve my energy and time. Instead of bemoaning the situation and wagging your finger at how little ‘we’ know about Russia and the Ukraine, wouldn’t it be better to put your words into actions? You are free to roll up your sleeves and/or open your checkbook.

  14. Els, we should all be so lucky that the US is not sending food stamps to Ukraine rather than MREs. Imagine all the US food corporations setting up shop in Ukraine to cash in on foodstamps, in the process causing inflation, which in turn means profit and greed would get 90% of the pie, while the poor, hungry Ukrainians fight over 10 percent. It used to be that stockholders had to earn their money. Now it is handed to them on a platter by taxpayers made powerless by a corrupt political system. I’m not sure why you believe we are not on the same wavelength here.

  15. Interesting reply, Samantha. I reread your earlier comment on this story several times and I do admit to missing one thing: you said ‘us’ when referring to those of us who know so little about the Ukraine and Russia. While English is not close to being my first language, I don’t often misunderstand (as Pres. Bush Jr. would say) the meaning and intent of what people write on this site. All I can say is that I am tired of my taxes going to support a corrupt regime knowing that that most of the aid sent will go into the deep pockets of the new regime and that there will be little difference for the poor folks there. I feel increasingly that we need to take care of the needy in this country first. The waste I witnessed in Afghanistan made my blood boil. So, sorry if I did not get the gist of what it was you wrote. Will try to do better with your next comment.

  16. Samantha, I grew up in a town w/ a strong Ukrainian population. Many kids I went to school w/ were 1st generation US citizens. They are great people and they are very concerned for their former countrymen. I fear NATO will sell them down the river.

  17. I had already known we’re on the same wavelength, Els. It’s difficult to write a precise essay within the confines of a comment. And speech-to-text is so imprecise (I’m more at home on a keyboard), not to mention that we may be responding in haste from a coffee shop or who knows where. Consequently, too many of us use our biases to judge commenters. For example, when I defend the free speech rights of right-wing religious zealots, I’m attacked for being a right-wing religious zealot, myself, never mind that I am NOT, by wants-it-both-ways bigots. Or if I criticize the waste in the food-stamp program, I’m labeled a heartless son-of-a-bitch by the shoot-from-the-hip spastics. The idea is to express oneself, not win a popularity contest. Society is too overrun with templated thinking, going by all those who line up either on the left or right. Whatever happened with free, independent thinking?

    Nick, what is the ethnicity of the Ukrainians from your town?

  18. Ukrainian Orthodox. And, Samantha, one of the greatest liberations one can experience is not giving a rat’s ass what others call you. People who truly know me know who I am and what I’m about. Left wingers and right wingers often accuse me of being “one of them.” It’s hilarious. You understand this quite well.

  19. Nick:

    I think it is probably time for you to call it a night. Spamming this blog and insulting the people here is getting old.

  20. Have you ever been stalked? I have to prove my case and that is what I’m doing. My stalkers have been enabled enough. Basta. And, I hardly insulted anyone. I’ve been spoken to much worse EVERY DAY HERE and NO GBer EVER had my back, only Mr. Turley has. I’m fed up w/ being stalked and IT WILL STOP. I have more than enough proof of being stalked by AY and that woman. I don’t expect your help but I will do what’s need to prove my case, and I believe I have. Any questions?

  21. Unbelievable. Really too much. When is something going to be done with this person who goads, bullies, insults, snoops on commenters and then has the unmitigated gaul to claim HE is being stalked? He puts a pall over this blog and diminishes the dignity of it. It’s really become sickening.

  22. Els wrote:
    ” . I feel increasingly that we need to take care of the needy in this country first.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Fully 80 percent of the working population does not earn a living wage. They’re everywhere, working in grocery stores, at Starbucks, in restaurants, in fast food joints, at the mall, at gas stations, in manufacturing, in agriculture, in motels, in rest homes, in retail stores everywhere, while those of us who may be more affluent, taking them for granted, demeaning them, insulting them, treating them all condescendingly, while too many of us are too brain dead to realize that throwing tax money at corporations is how we got into the mess we are in, the backroom deals, at the expense of all taxpayers, having incrementally widened the gap between the rich and poor. In my grandfather’s time, anyone who held a full time job, no matter the employer, earned a working wage. If he was a gas station attendant, for example, he could support a family, without government assistance. Of course that’s when the state sales tax was one percent , not 10 and more as it is in many places today. Translation: this means that for every 10 Walmart supercenters, 100 percent of the revenues of a single store goes to the government, which government does not have a single nickel invested in capital for that store. Imagine receiving all the revenues from a Walmart without having to own it, never mind not even having to pay the employees and all the other overhead, taxes, insurance, etc? Even though the government has no skin in the deal, it still can’t balance its budget, forever wanting to increase sales tax another penny. Where will it end? When the government gets two out of every 10 Walmart stores? Even worse, there are taxpayers supporting the government to raise sales tax another penny. Now interpolate this equation to include all government, at every level, where it is estimated that fully 50% of our GNP is gobbled up by taxes. And we wonder why 80 percent of jobs today do not pay a living wage, while in my grandfather’s time, every career meant a living wage.

  23. Samantha, While I share many of your views I don’t believe 80% of our population do not make a living wage. The economy has changed drastically in our generation. My parents had jobs for life. They worked 2 jobs to help put their 4 kids through college. We need to make our tax structure more fair. We need to help people get the education and training they need to compete in the global economy. But, the days of working one job for one company for a lifetime are over, and they ain’t coming back.

  24. I have NEVER snooped on a commenter. Nor have I EVER been banned on ANY blog as you asserted in one of your first lies about me. You came here to stalk me and that is painfully clear and proven.

  25. This is sadly indicative of the inept administration now towering over the U.S. Form over substance, short-term action without understanding long-term consequences..

  26. Yes nick…. You and your cohorts are attacking and then playing the passive aggressive…. Oh me… Well I didn’t mean that game…. It gets old…. No one is stalking you…. Calling you on your harassment is not stalking….. If you’re that paranoid…. Maybe you should take a break….

  27. Nick, I never said 80 percent of the population. I said 80 percent of the workforce. Unfair tax system? That means you’d have to get rid of the sales tax. You want a flat tax? That is code for a vat tax, instantaneously bumping the equation of one in ten Walmarts to 2 in 10 Walmarts. Lots of unfair myths here held by the ostensible informed class, probably subliminal compensation that removes guilt that otherwise brings reality into focus. Statistics are statistics, but even so, a little awareness for the disadvantaged among us, who are everywhere, would go a long way to rid graft, corruption, and criminals living next door with impunity.

  28. Samantha, I need facts on the 80% of the workforce. However, you do realize a good % of the workforce are not looking for a living wage. They are young people, students, elderly, part time workers by choice, etc. We agree in general, I just don’t agree w/ the %.

  29. Nick, on what authority are you making a blanket statement that any worker is not looking for a living wage? What you are implying, is that someone with an 8 dollar job is perfectly content, even though there is a 20 dollar job available across the street. You have shallow apology that subliminally maintains the gap between the rich and poor. There is no defense for the person who sees a schmuck in the mirror that you hold up. I’m not name-calling you a schmuck, just saying your statement is schmucky. Quit making up so much stuff and quit denying also.

  30. Samantha, Chill! Does a 15 year old kid working @ McDonald’s expect or need a “living wage?” Does a senior working as a Walmart greeter expect or even want a “living wage.” SS does penalize you for earning money, you know! Does a college student working 10 hours a week for beer money expect or want a “living wage?” No, he wants beer money! Would I want $20/hr. for flipping burgers, hell yes. Would I want to pay $12 for a Big Mac, hell no. I think you need to take an economics course, you’ve had plenty of sociology courses. And, you also need to head over to the welfare thread, you’re needed there.

  31. Maybe not, but an adult working at McDonalds needs a living wage. Its misguided notions like yours, slung widely as thogh gospel, that is an insult to 8 out of every 10 employees in this nation. I may not be one of them, but I’m not so arrogant that I unhinge sympathy and compassion, much less understanding. You’re a nincompoop, a cheesy one at that. You probably leave a $1 tip when you should leave $5.

  32. Lol! I am a VERY generous tipper, and I ALWAYS tip housekeepers, $10..sometimes more. I have had housekeepers tearfully thank me, in Spanish. I taught my children the same. My mother was one of 13 children growing up in the Depression. When your mom tells you tearfully that “going to bed hungry @ night changes you,” that gets right to my soul, Samantha!! . I came from a blue collar family, Samantha. I have made no personal comments about you. I have encouraged you for chrissake. You need to understand economics better. We have a fundamental disagreement on this. I don’t want this to get nasty, you are better than that.

  33. You should happily pay 12 dollars for a big mac, if it means a living wage for those who serve you. You make it sound like you’re perfectly content paying $5 for a shirt made in a sweat factory in India. Conflicted, you condemn the sweatshops but not the $2 Big Mac. You have a lot of misfiring neurons there, Nick.

  34. Annie,

    Have you been told yet that their single purpose is to get you banned from turley? It was directly stated to me yesterday…. How’s that grab you for one that plys the civility rule at will….. Serenity now…..

  35. Sure, nick, you have patronized me. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to give you a free pass when you insult 80 percent of the workforce in this nation. If you value my support of you so much, then say something that isn’t so schmucky. You make it sound like I have written you off.

  36. rafflaw, I don’t know the stats. Do you? But, I do know virtually every McDonald’s I go into has a lotta pimply faced kids working there. The other gig demo is Hispanics of ALL ages.

  37. I’ve seen an increasing number of older and middle aged adults working at fast food and coffee places. It’s hardly a living wage when one is eligible for Medicaid. Walmart employees, how many get Medicaid and food benefits?

  38. Samantha, You have me wrong. The only support I value are of people who really know me. There is NO ONE here who really knows me. I said on a thread yesterday, one of the greatest liberations in this world is not giving a rat’s ass what others say about you. I may have said it to you? I care deeply about what people who REALLY know Nick Spinelli think. There is no one here for whom I give a rat’s ass what they think of me. On a CONSTANT basis that is corroborated by my fellow commenters and stalkers telling me I am evil incarnate. I wear their scorn as a badge of honor. And, I’m still waiting for you backing up that 80% figure. I can battle w/ someone, dust myself off, and work w/ them the next day. When you work in the justice system for almost 40 years you MUST have that ability. If you don’t, you would not last 5 years, much less 40. Let me say, what I always say here in situations like this. We will simply have to disagree. No biggy. Ciao.

  39. SWM, I knew you had a history, based on your comments. I did not know what that was. Thanks for letting me know. And, as Bubba would say, “I feel your pain.”

  40. Oh, and NO ONE should happily pay $12 for a Big Mac, unless it’s a cure for cancer. Sadly, it causes cancer.

  41. Nick, you need to come clean. Do your mea culpa! Now! Distracting us by insisting on the stats isn’t working to detract from your condescending opinion of the average worker. Do not wait until you hit bottom!

    I only eat organic. That pretty much rules out every restaurant and all processed foods. I know I am NOT going to live forever, but I damn sure am not going to die prematurely at the hands of greedy food corporations and cheap-ass purveyors.

  42. Swarthmoremom,

    I have also deleted a number of your comments as well as comments from AY, Paul, and Nick. I am sorry that you have a goal of not spending much time on this site. You have often contributed strong and valuable insights. However, I would appreciate it if you would not continue to personalize comments or revisiting past personal disputes. If that is not possible, then I understand a need to find another site despite our interest in your views and a wide array of different views on this site.

  43. raff, Sorry, I need something besides Mother Jones. I’m thinking the Bureau of Labor Statistics or some objective statistical source. I DO NOT want to get into the mother jones, Nation, etc. debate. I would look upon your answer as a tweak, giving my oft expressed derision for left/right propaganda sources. But, I think you were sincere. I am not sarcastic when I say I do look forward to some objective source because that 80% figure would be surprising to me. I like surprises.

  44. Samantha, I worked in restaurants during my youth. I worked my ass off, running my own biz, making a payroll for my employees. Ask MY EMPLOYEES about how I feel for working people. They loved working for me. I paid them and not myself when times were tough. But, they never even knew it, only my wife did. And that was when I would work 70-80 hour weeks. I am now retired. My children were always expected to work. They worked in restaurants, Target, etc. as they were growing up. I have immense respect for hard work and workers. But, the only way I will “hit bottom” is if the stock market crashes and the government doesn’t make the needed cuts to save SS. I’m actually not concerned about myself vis a vis SS. I’m concerned for my kids and grandkids. I now know you’re organic. What type of work do you do?

  45. So I see you all got chastised by the professor. Yet you’re still being rude Nick. Was it really just lip service?

  46. raff, Wait a minute. Your mother jones source[I held my nose] says the bottom 20% of the work force makes less than 21k/year. That means that 80% figure being bandied about here is the % of people making MORE than 21k/year.

  47. What percentage of the wworkfore earns a living wage? The answer, of course, is relative, depending on the locale. In other words it’s not a function of how much one earms but is a function of the cost of living, which also varies from person to person, depending upon if he has any dependents and how many. An annual income of $21,000 translates to less than $10 per hour, $2100 of which is confiscated in the form of sales tax, not even mentioning other paycheck deductions. Not even a homeless person can live on that much, who may be living out of his car or van, struggling even though he gets food stamps and other considerations. I may be wrong, but my impression is that more than half the workforce gets food stamps, which they would not get if they are earning a living wage. And we are constantly reading of people who are denied food stamps because they earn too much, never mind their income is not a living wage. It’s the same with the Earned Income Credit, public housing, subsidized health care, it goes on and on. A single, working parent in the Midwest, more on the coasts, needs a hefty income to survive without assistance, without compromising a decent standard of living. What percentage of the workforce earns a hefty income? Not very many. A lot of it, sure, is based on unhealthy lifestyle and poor financial choices, such as foolishly diverting half of one’s income to servicing debt on cars, homes and credit cards.

    You might find this interesting:

  48. As a Vista volunteer I was REQUIRED to live below the Fed poverty level. Yes, I was a Vista volunteer. I lived just fine but I couldn’t afford organic.

  49. Still hoping to be surprised by that 80% thrown around here as gospel!! and, still waiting for my comments to be retrieved. None this year yet.

  50. Less than 6 percent of the population earns more than $100,000 annually. Only about 12 percent earn more than 50,000, which is certainly not a living wage in any large city. Only about 28 percent earn more than 25,000 (about 12 bucks an hour). Do a bit of mental interpolation, and you quickly see that perhaps 80 percent is not high enough, more so considering that these stats account for only those who are aged 25 and older. Factor in the younger crowd and the stats are far more embarrassingly dismal, accounting for why the Census Bureau has skewed, sugar coated the stats so that we do not resemble too many third world nations.

    Nick, no more denials. Do your mea culpa!

  51. Of course there is a Census Bureau conspiracy. The conspiracy is to make things LOOK WORSE! They are a government entity and want more government. That’s what bureaucracies do, perpetuate themselves and get bigger. All those government employees have “living wages” and Cadillac benefits. They don’t give a rat’s ass about the poor. The more poor, the more government programs. This is basic civics, which is no longer taught in public schools.

  52. You know Anon,

    This used to be a joy to be on…. It was kind of like cheers…. You know the occasion jabs here and there….. But to continuously have snarks delivered just because you state something someone disagrees with…. Or an entourage of puppets attacking you…. Just makes it not as much fun…. Since I was told by one that it was there intention to get me banned…. Well that sets in a whole new set of rules for me…. I don’t run off….

    And if anyone ever reveals personal information about me as they have in the past I will try and have cyber stalking charges issued…. They have been warned but it does not seem to phase them….

    As someone once said….. It’s not the initial trouble maker that gets caught it’s the one responding to it…. I am pleased the professor finally shut down the attacks today….. But two were right back at it, after he left….

  53. jonathanturley


    I have also deleted a number of your comments as well as comments from AY, Paul, and Nick. I am sorry that you have a goal of not spending much time on this site. You have often contributed strong and valuable insights. However, I would appreciate it if you would not continue to personalize comments or revisiting past personal disputes. If that is not possible, then I understand a need to find another site despite our interest in your views and a wide array of different views on this site.

    I am trying to learn what not to do on this blog. It appears that this is the best example. How do you book mark these pages?

  54. Eddie,

    Swarthmoremom has been a long and valued commenter on this blog. She sometimes disagrees with me but I greatly value her and opposing views on this blog. As with the other cited posters, we all tend to stray from our civility rule in the midst of many of our more divisive political and moral debates. I ask people to simply try to avoid personalizing their comments. Deal with the merits. The motives or background of the poster should not matter. Most of us are really not interested in people scoring points with personal observations. There is a link above on our civility rule if you need further information.


  55. Great positive comment and I would have SWM’s back anytime in a battle. That is the few times she’s on the right side, that is!!

  56. SWM understands and is cool w/ it, I’m quite certain. Go start a fire somewhere else, there’s no oxygen for it here.

  57. Anon,

    You’ve heard the statement “hold your friends close and your enemy’s closer”…. This seems apt….. I guess they call those folks Frienemies…. When they unite in a cause against another….

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