After Representative Victoria Spartz asked U.S. President Joe Biden to brief Congress on the performed due diligence and oversight procedures related to Andrii Yermak and scrutinize his "Russian ties", new details emerged in the scandal.
Thereafter, Oleh Nikolenko, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, criticized the letter. On his Facebook account, he wrote that amid the support provided to Ukraine by the U.S., Spartz’s actions and statements are an "attempt to bring back into American politics classic narratives of Russian propaganda about Ukraine’s leadership’s seemingly ties to Russia and to drag our state into U.S. domestic politics."
"We advise Ms. Spartz to stop trying to earn extra political capital on baseless speculation around the topic of war in our country and the grief of Ukrainians. Especially cynical are manipulations about Ukraine and its leadership from a congresswomen of Ukrainian origin. The congresswoman chould also stop undermining the existing mechanisms of providing military aid to Ukraine by the U.S. The Ukrainian side interacts with American partners as openly as possible, providing them with comprehensive information about the use of equipment. Further bureaucratization and prolongation of the process, which Victoria Spartz obviously wants, will only contribute to the further advance of the Russian invaders. Such a scenario is what the Kremlin is counting on."
What Victoria Spartz accused Andrii Yermak of
In return, the congresswoman responded to the reaction of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. On her website, Spartz wrote that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy "must address the Yermak issue," which is "a lingering internal issue of Ukraine," and called on the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to consider her statements seriously.
According to European Pravda, her allegations against Yermak were as follows:
- Leaking information to Belarus and ultimately to Russia on Ukraine’s operation to capture the "Wagner Group", which led to its failure;
- Mismanaging failed peace negotiations with Russia before the war;
- According to Spartz, Yermak had been assuring the Ukrainian leadership that no attack by Russia was going to happen this February, contrary to western intelligence, to prevent Ukraine from properly preparing for the war;
- Sabotaging Kherson and giving it to the Russians to set up the "Azov" battalion tragedy;
- Delaying purchases of urgent military equipment through the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and demanding unreasonable or even illegal terms; and
- Purposely delaying through his Deputy Oleh Tatarov the appointment of an independent anti-corruption prosecutor.
According to the congresswoman, she received strong support from Americans and Ukrainians and understands why her comments struck a chord with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. She also urged the Ministry to consider her statement with seriousness.
Reactions to the scandal between Spartz and Yermak from Marcy Kaptur and the Ukrainian diaspora in the U.S.
In turn, the unfolding scandal got a reaction from Marcy Kaptur, co-chair of a group supporting Ukraine in the US Congress, and the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, which represents the Ukrainian community in the U.S., who unanimously denounced Spartz.
Thus, Kaptur said that "while some members may seek to sow division and inflame tensions, as a whole, the United States Congress stands firmly behind President Zelenskyy and his leadership as Ukraine battles for its survival."
"The level and scope of the United States’ cooperation with President Zelenskyy’s office gives no reason to doubt the loyalty of any official. Those who are spreading wild narratives aimed at undermining Ukrainian officials during the war are recklessly providing aid to Putin and his propagandists," a statement on Kaptur’s website says.
In turn, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), which represents two million Americans of Ukrainian origin, denounced "the attempts to undermine or disrupt the trust between the two countries," European Pravda reports.
The statement says that "Zelenskyy’s and his team’s strategic aim is to secure support from the democratic coalition of nations in their struggle against the genocidal invasive alien force and that the narratives about a weakened and divided Ukrainian nation spread by Russian disinformation are aimed at undermining the popular support for President Zelenskyy’s administration and harming important strategic relationships between the U.S. and Ukraine."
The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America also added that during a war, victory can be achieved through unity with a definite aim and strategy.