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. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. I had no problem, but I could not afford organic! Hardly a single burger could I buy!

  4. 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.

  5. 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:

  6. 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.

  7. Anon,

    It will be just a matter of time….. Just a matter of time….

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

  9. Here’s a big test. Could someone please pull my comment out of the spam filter?

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. Samantha,
    I found your comment in the spam filter which is very hungry today.

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