MOSCOW, August 29. /TASS/. US President Donald Trump probably wants to make sure that taxpayer funds for military aid to Ukraine earmarked from the budget are used for their designated purpose and not stolen, head of the Russian State Duma (lower house) Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky told TASS on Thursday, commenting on media reports on the issue.
"Commenting on media leaks is a thankless task. If the information provided by Politico is reliable, Trump’s order can be related to both internal and external factors," he said. Slutsky recalled that reports with negative assessments of the current state of the Ukrainian armed forces were beginning to appear in US media outlets. "I believe the corruption factor in Ukraine plays a substantial role. It is important for the US administration to make sure that the funds are used for their intended purpose and are not just stolen," he stressed.
Besides, Trump has shown concern for ordinary American taxpayers, Slutsky went on to say. "The single-storied America, which voted for him in 2016, is more concerned about its own wellbeing rather than about satisfying hegemonic ambitions," he explained.
He noted though that the US president's step would be another reason for domestic political feuds. "Democrats will naturally be opposed [to that move], especially in light of the upcoming 2020 [election] campaign," he added. "However, for now I would not talk about radical changes in the United States’ policy towards Ukraine. For that, more serious signals are needed," he concluded.
The Politico newspaper earlier reported that Trump had instructed his administration to review Washington’s military aid to Ukraine, which stands at $250 million this year.
The paper cited a senior administration official as saying that the funding program, known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, will be reviewed in order to ensure the money is being used in the best interest of the United States. Politico believes that the funds will be frozen for the time of the review.