US Assures Congress: No Evidence of Misused Weapons Assistance to Ukraine
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the US has authorized more than $113 billion in humanitarian, economic and security aid to Kyiv. Of that, the US has doled out more than $75 billion so far, and that includes nearly $32 billion in Pentagon weapons and training to Ukraine. As Congress steps up oversight of the aid package, the Department of Defense has assured members that no evidence exists to suggest the misuse or diversion of weapons the US has provided.
On Feb. 28, Under Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl told the House Armed Services Committee that “there’s no evidence that the Ukrainians are diverting it to the black market.” He stated that some of these systems have been taken by Russians in the midst of battle, which is something that “always happens” in such situations. Kahl stated that “This is an active war zone. There are always going to be things that you don’t know are happening or you don’t see. But we are not seeing any evidence of systemic diversion of the equipment that the United States has provided.”; therefore, not everything is visible. Nonetheless, he claimed that there is no proof of the American-supplied equipment being diverted in a systematic way.
Robert Storch, inspector general of the Department of Defense, similarly testified that “we have not substantiated any such instances” of sensitive equipment being lost or diverted. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power added during a CNN town hall that Ukraine has made progress for years in working to root out corruption and that officials are “constantly monitoring the appropriate use of US taxpayer dollars.”
On Friday, the Biden administration announced several new actions in support of Ukraine's defense against Russia, including $2 billion in a new defense package, crushing economic sanctions on Russia's mining, tech and electronics sectors and financial institutions that support the nation's military supply chains and new limitations on exports to Russia and higher tariffs on imported Russian goods.
The DOD is utilizing technology, as well as personnel on the ground, to ensure that US assistance is not misused. Storch mentioned that his office is “laser focused” on this issue and is conducting audits and evaluations that follow the weapons from the time they begin at the port to the transshipment points and into the country.
0. “Trump USAID Chief Explains Need for Oversight of US Billions for Ukraine” Daily Signal, 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.dailysignal.com/2023/02/28/too-important-to-screw-up-trump-usaid-chief-explains-need-for-oversight-of-us-billions-for-ukraine
1. “No evidence of fraud in weapons to Ukraine, watchdog says” The Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/no-evidence-of-fraud-so-far-in-weapons-to-ukraine-ig-says/2023/02/28/bae89e8a-b79b-11ed-b0df-8ca14de679ad_story.html
2. “No Evidence Of U.S. Weapons Diversion From Ukraine – Pentago…” MENAFN.COM, 1 Mar. 2023, https://menafn.com/1105680720/No-Evidence-Of-US-Weapons-Diversion-From-Ukraine-Pentagon
3. “US defends aid sent to Ukraine, sees no evidence of misappropriation” La Prensa Latina, 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.laprensalatina.com/us-defends-aid-sent-to-ukraine-sees-no-evidence-of-misappropriation/
4. “Pentagon tells Republicans ‘no evidence' that weapons for Ukraine are being diverted” POLITICO, 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/02/28/pentagon-republicans-weapons-ukraine-00084779
5. “Defense officials claim there's no evidence Ukraine is mishandling US weapons, aid” Fox News, 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/defense-officials-claim-no-evidence-ukraine-mishandling-us-weapons-aide
6. “Pentagon Tells Congress There's No Evidence US Weapons Sent to Ukraine Are Being Misused” Yahoo Life, 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/pentagon-tells-congress-theres-no-205203516.html
7. “Biden Administration Official: No evidence Ukraine misusing U.S. financial aid” WDAY Radio, 26 Feb. 2023, https://www.wdayradionow.com/news/national-news/61467-biden-administration-official-no-evidence-ukraine-misusing-us-financial-aid
8. “Defense Officials: U.S. Ensures Accountability of Systems Supplied to Ukraine” Department of Defense, 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.defense.gov/News/News-Stories/Article/Article/3313904/defense-officials-us-ensures-accountability-of-systems-supplied-to-ukraine