Ukrainian Foreign Ministry hits Rep. Spartz over ‘baseless speculation’ on Zelensky chief of staff

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A spokesperson for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry alleged that Ukrainian-born Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) is “​​trying to earn extra political capital” after she sent a letter to President Biden regarding the head of the office of the president of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak.

“Ukraine is deeply grateful to the United States of America for their unwavering support in the fight against Russia’s aggression. It’s hard to overestimate the political, military, and financial help Congress and President Joseph Biden’s administration provided to our country in four months of all-out war. We celebrate the personal role of the President of the United States in consolidating these efforts,” the spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, said in a post on Facebook on Saturday.

“On this background of extensive support especially contrasts the recent actions and statements of US Congresswoman Victoria Spartz,” he continued. “They are an undisclosed 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 US domestic politics.”

Nikolenko was referring to a letter that Spartz sent Biden on Friday in which she asked for his administration “to brief Congress on the performed due diligence and oversight procedures related to” Yermak and warned that people both in the U.S. and abroad had concerns about the top Ukrainian official.

“As President Zelensky works very hard to build alliances with the west and our country, it is our responsibility to inform him if we might have any concerns with key people around him. It is also our obligation to the brave Ukrainian soldiers and strong Ukrainian people fighting this fight for freedom and international order for all of us,” she wrote to Biden.

Nikolenko claimed that Spartz’s comments were “cynical” and “baseless speculation.”

In a statement on Saturday, Spartz responded to Nikolenko’s Facebook post, making a series of allegations against Yermak. 

She alleged he had not properly handled peace negotiations with Moscow prior to the war, sought to prevent Ukraine from properly preparing for the conflict and delayed urgent military equipment purchases. Among other accusations, she also claimed that Yermak caused a Ukrainian operation to fail by leaking information about it to Belarus and Russia.

“I encourage the Ministry to consider my statement with the kind of seriousness these questions about Mr. Yermak demand, instead of launching ad hominem attacks as they have thus far. Ukrainians and Americans will be better served by our governments responding with due diligence – not defensive platitudes,” she said.

Spartz’s comments come amid the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine, which has raged on for more than 100 days. The Indiana Republican has visited Ukraine a handful of times during the war. 

The Biden administration announced on Friday that it would be sending a $400 million security aid package to Ukraine, featuring demolition munitions, four more High Mobility Rocket Systems and three tactical vehicles, among other items. 

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