Originally posted on TVP World.
KHARKIV, 30 MILES TO RUSSIA— Here’s part of the Ukraine story you’ve probably never heard: Joe Biden has so frequently lectured Ukraine about democracy and corruption, even as his son was taking money from a Moscow-based energy firm that was part of the corrupt government the Ukrainian people kicked out of their country in the 2014 Revolution. Donald Trump and Zelenskyy were poised to collaborate—maybe to shine a light on this corruption—until Trump was frightened off, leaving Zelenskyy abandoned.
These facts are contorted or ignored by Republicans in Washington, who want to claim that Ukraine’s victory effort is a giant conspiracy. In the wake of last week's NATO summit, Ben Wallace, the now-outgoing UK Defense Secretary, said it’s incredibly difficult to keep the U.S. Congress interested in Ukraine. But, during the first day of the summit, Congress was indeed interested in Ukraine—only in the silliest way imaginable. Republican members, including Marjorie Taylor Green (Georgia) and Virginia Fox (North Carolina), claimed in a House Oversight hearing that Joe Biden is sending weapons to Ukraine because his son made corrupt money here. In their exuberance attacking Biden, they miss an essential fact: Burisma is Russian, not Ukrainian.
Last Thursday, July 13, Charlie Kirk, the Turning Point USA founder, and a Trump friend, tweeted a supposed timeline of Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine. In the end, he wrote, “And now hundreds of billions of your taxpayer money is flowing back to Ukraine. “Get it, now?”— as if to say, see this is all a scam.
I’ve been in Ukraine every single minute since Russia’s full-scale invasion, and as I write, often under missile threat and missile attack, I am frustrated that huge resources on hand don’t bother to examine these actual details:
In 2013, Rosemont Seneca, a private equity firm co-launched by Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz, stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry, helped found BHR Partners with the Bank of China. This matters because BHR is partners with a Chinese private equity firm that later was part of an effort to control a Ukrainian defense firm.
In 2012-2014, Mykola Zlochevsky, the Burisma CEO, was simultaneously in the Ukrainian cabinet of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych as deputy secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.
In late 2013, a small student movement urging the government to turn more toward Europe and less toward Russia and China turned into massive protests when Yanukovych’s government began to fire at the students. Ukrainian people, young and old, left and right, stood in the streets, even against the bullets of the secret police, creating the Revolution of Dignity. Around February 24, 2014, Burisma’s Zlochevsky fled to Russia along with President Viktor Yanukovych and the rest of the Ukrainian cabinet. The Revolution of Dignity, or Maidan (“public square”), had succeeded.
Crucially, Burisma had prime natural gas assets in the Crimean peninsula, and for several weeks, Zlochevsky and Burisma, now ensconced in Moscow, were separated from Crimea. But not for long: Putin, taking advantage of the collapse of institutions after the Revolution, took Crimea in March 2014. Obama-Biden, the UN, and the EU did not intervene.
By May 2014, two months later, Burisma, which benefited from Putin taking Crimea, had hired Hunter Biden, son of the sitting US Vice President, whose administration did nothing to stop the Crimean annexation. Hunter Biden was reportedly paid more than USD 80,000 per month.
Later in 2014, Ukrainian prosecutors, free of the corrupt Russian yoke, opened a criminal tax investigation into Burisma.
In 2015, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Ukraine. Later, he claims that during this visit he threatened to withhold aid money unless Ukraine fired its general prosecutor—the same office that was investigating Moscow-based Burisma, from which his son was making big bucks.
In 2016, Ukraine’s President Poroshenko, a chocolate and media baron elected after the revolution, participated in negotiations for Chinese aerospace firm Skyrizon to purchase Motor Sich, Ukraine’s prized helicopter manufacturing firm. Years later, in a leaked call from 2016, Poroshenko promised Biden, then flying on Air Force II, to change the prosecutor. Poroshenko, who kisses up to Biden, saying, “All the time I hear your voice, it is a great pleasure for me,” obliges and institutes a new prosecutor general.
In 2017, the newly-elected Trump administration said it was worried about China’s military having access to Motor Sich’s ingenuity.
Meanwhile, Hunter Biden’s BHR was working with AVIC, the major shareholder in Skyrizon, the same Chinese firm trying to take over Ukraine’s Motor Sich.
In March 2019, the Ukrainian people elected an actor as president, with Zelenskyy defeating oligarch—and Biden buddy—Poroshenko.
In April 2019, Hunter Biden left Burisma.
In May 2019, writing in the New York Times, freelancer reporter Iulia Mendel broke the story of the more than USD 80,000/month Hunter Biden had been making working for Burisma, again, whose leadership was now in Moscow.
In June 2019, the newly-elected President Zelenskyy hires the same Mendel as his press secretary.
In July 2019, Zelenskyy and President Trump spoke in the infamous phone call that the Democrats used as grounds for the first impeachment of Trump. But remember: Zelenskyy had hired as his press secretary the reporter who broke the story about Hunter Biden’s Burisma money. Zelenskyy knew about Hunter Biden’s dealings with Russian interests—the very same Russian rot the Ukrainians had been working to evict from their country.
In October 2019, I flew from Lviv, where I'd been collaborating with journalists and the Ukrainian Catholic University, to Washington, DC, for a conference. I went to visit a friend at the Trump White House for coffee. When a senior official learned I had just been in Ukraine, she started screaming at me and kicked me off the grounds. It was then that I learned that those who had threatened Trump over his cooperation with Zelenskyy had been wholly effective: Everyone at the White House was scared of the mere mention of Ukraine.
At the same time, in the fall of 2019, the protestors in Hong Kong were looking to Ukraine’s successful 2014 Maidan protests as inspiration. They were waving American, British, Hong Kong, and Ukrainian flags in the streets. But with the Trump impeachment and the arrival of the pandemic, Washington lost leverage over China, Hong Kong lost its freedom, and the stage was set for Russia to push into a castigated Ukraine.
In April 2020, a Kyiv court announced to the public in a secret March ruling that it would continue to prevent Skyrizon from acquiring Motor Sich. In its ruling, the court cited the warnings of Ukraine’s Security Services (SBU), who in 2017, after raiding Motor Sich’s headquarters, accused the Chinese firm, the same firm with connections to Biden’s son and Kerry’s stepson, of an “enemy plot” against Ukraine.
In those first days and weeks of the war, Zelenskyy and the Ukrainians were largely abandoned, including by the Biden administration. The U.S. embassy fled Kyiv weeks before the full-scale invasion, not daring to hold on to the last second as they once did in Saigon or Kabul. It was as though they expected Kyiv to fall.
It is only because the people of Ukraine stood tall and refused to cave into corrupt tyranny that they lasted long enough for the West, including Biden, to slowly begin sending support.
As Oleksandr Sienkevych, the mayor of Ukraine’s Mykolaiv, told me months ago, Russian rot and corruption from around the world used to have Ukraine as their playground, but the Maidan, or “public square," generation of Ukrainian people said no more. Now, because of that resistance—much stronger than, say, the Ottawa truckers movement—violent, angry Vlad sends millions of dollars worth of missiles upon these free people while President Biden dodders on about how difficult it’s going to be for Ukraine, the country standing for freedom and civilization, to join NATO.
What’s so strange is that the so-called freedom-loving American conservatives who believe they are fighting a corrupt cabal take that cabal at its word, believing Russian and American elite rhetoric that the corruption is in Ukraine rather than Washington and Moscow. These American freedom-talkers are casting aside the freest people in the world, all because of a demagogic inability or refusal to pay attention to the facts.
Joe Lindsley, editor of UkrainianFreedomNews.com, has been an American journalist in Ukraine since the pandemic. You can subscribe to his daily war reports on Chicago’s WGN Radio here.
Joe Lindsley, editor of UkrainianFreedomNews.com, is an American journalist in Ukraine since the pandemic. You can subscribe to his daily war reports on Chicago’s WGN Radio here.