Pentagon failed to track more than $1B in weapons sent to Ukraine: watchdog

WASHINGTON – The US military failed to track more than $1 billion in weapons sent to Ukraine — which they were required to keep tabs on — between February and June of last year, according to a new Pentagon Inspector General report published Thursday.

The news comes as Congress again gears up to debate continuing aid to the war-torn country as the second anniversary of its invasion by Russia nears.

The IG report analyzed the Defense Department’s “enhanced end-use monitoring” (EEUM) program, required for certain types of smaller arms most susceptible to being intercepted and rerouted to the black market.

“These EEUM-designated defense articles included Javelin missiles, Javelin [launch units], Stinger missiles, Stinger gripstocks and lethal miniature aerial missile system Switchblades,” the report said.

While the US has put more than $45 billion toward Ukraine military aid since 2021, the report considered only EEUM-designated weapons sent by the US and international partners, the value of which totaled roughly $1.7 billion over the time period studied.

“Although [American] and Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel conducted some required inventories, as of June 2, 2023, serial number inventories for more than $1.005 billion of the total $1.699 billion – 59[%] of the total value – of EEUM‑designated defense articles remained delinquent,” the report said.

According to an Inspector General report, the Pentagon lost track of more than $1 billion in weapons sent to Ukraine — including Javelin anti-tank missiles (pictured). Getty Photo by Julie Bennett/Getty Images
The DoD IG did not suspect any of the equipment of ending up on the black market, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder. AP Photo/Kevin Wolf

While that represents just a fraction of the more than tens of billions in weapons and military equipment Kyiv has received since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24, 2022, it is the first glimpse Americans are getting into Washington’s efforts to promote accountability for the aid.

The news comes as Congress reconvened this week to try and hammer out a supplemental funding bill that would provide additional funding for Ukraine, as well as Israel, Taiwan and southern border security. Without the bill, the US has run out of money to pay for more assistance to Kyiv.

House Republicans have raised concerns over continuing aid to Ukraine, with several, including far-right Rep. Majorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga.), suggesting issues with keeping the weapons in the right hands.

“We have sent Ukraine BILLIONS in liquid cash and billions more in weapons and ammunition,” Taylor-Greene posted to X Thursday, linking to the report. “The kicker? We have no idea where it all went! Yet Speaker Johnson wants to tie securing America’s border to MORE aid for Ukraine. I’m a HARD NO!! #AmericaFirst.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has raised concerns about the Pentagon losing track of military aid to Ukraine. Getty Images

However, the DoD IG did not find reason to believe that any of the untracked equipment ended up on the black market, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters.

“There remains no credible evidence of illicit diversion of US-provided advanced conventional weapons from Ukraine,” Ryder said. “We do see some instances of Russia continuing to spread disinformation to the contrary, but the fact is, we observe the Ukrainians employing these capabilities on the battlefield [and] we’re seeing them use them effectively.”

While that may be the case, the watchdog was not actively looking for proof that such weapons ended up in the wrong hands, it said.

“It was beyond the scope of our evaluation to analyze whether there has been diversion of such assistance,” the report stated.

A burning building in Kyiv after a Russian missile attack on Jan. 2, 2024. Photo by Viktor Kovalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

Still, Ryder’s allegations of Moscow spreading false rumors of corruption follow the trend of Kremlin efforts to spread lies about Kyiv to affect US opinions on continued aid.

The DoD IG has since stationed personnel in Ukraine, and its Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) “continues to investigate allegations of criminal conduct with regard to US security assistance to Ukraine,” according to the report.

To improve auditing, the agency gave the DoD five recommendations, to include “improv[ing] inventory procedures” and working with the State Department “to improve visibility of third-party transfers” of EEUM-designated equipment before delivery.

Written by SaleemBaloch

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