In Congress

Top Senate Aide Under Microscope For Unofficial Military Aid, Travels To Ukraine

A top Senate aide intimately involved with supporting U.S. military aid to Ukraine is under investigation for frequent unofficial trips to the country and facilitating transfer of thousands’ worth in military aid, The New York Times reported.

Kyle Parker serves as the senior Senate adviser for the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE, also known as the Helsinki Commission) and was one of the first high-profile Americans to travel to Ukraine after Russia’s invasion in February 2022. But the CSCE director general and counsel warned that the transfer of $30,000 worth of military aid may make Parker an unregistered foreign agent in a confidential report viewed by the NYT.

The report highlighted a possibility Parker is “wittingly or unwittingly being targeted and exploited by a foreign intelligence service,” according to the NYT, citing unspecified “counterintelligence issues.” It recommended the case be referred to the FBI.

Parker traveled to the front lines in Ukraine dressed in camouflage clothing bearing Ukrainian military insignia, the report stated, according to the NYT. The report also alleged Parker had overridden objections from unspecified congressional ethics and security officials and selected a Ukrainian Parliament aide, whom the Times identified as Andrii Bondarenko, to participate in a U.S. government fellowship.

“Mr. Parker’s unofficial travel and media promoting himself as a foreign military interlocutor raise further legal and ethical concerns amid reported Ukrainian military corruption,” the report said, according to the NYT.

A representative for Parker told the outlet he had done “nothing wrong” and was the subject of a “campaign of retaliation” for his own accusations against executive director, Steven Schrage, and the report’s authors, including counsel Michael Geffroy. The NYT did not specify the allegations.

The Helsinki Commission is led by members of Congress and staffed by aides. Overall, it contributes to U.S. policymaking on matters related to European security and democracy, the website shows.

Republican South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson, the commission’s chairman, recommended Parker be terminated in order to protect national security after reading the allegations in the report, the NYT reported, citing records.

Wilson referred to “serious alleged improper acts involving Ukrainian and other foreign individuals” and warned that any scandal involving the commission could be the nail in the coffin for future Ukraine aid, according to the outlet.

Parker remains on the commission for now until a broader investigation into staff conduct terminates, three U.S. officials told the NYT.

https://twitter.com/kyleparkernet/status/1621101818091560961?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener
“I have never served in or had any involvement with intelligence. My involvement in Congress was strictly official,” Bondarenko said in a statement on X.

Parker also said a relative in Ukraine had given him $30,000 in donations from veterans and volunteers, according to the NYT. He purchased rangefinders from Amazon and ballistic wind gauges from a manufacturer in Philadelphia for sniper rifles.

CSCE did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Micaela Burrow

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Micaela Burrow

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