U.S. Defense officials told Pentagon reporters Monday that military forces in Ukraine have restarted onsite inspecting Ukrainian troops to corroborate the $17 billion in weapons American officials have provided are used to defend its territory against Russia.
According to The Associated Press, the official who spoke did not say where U.S. troops are conducting such inspections and if it’s close to the battlefield but would go where “security conditions permit.”
“We’ll continue to work with our colleagues across the U.S. government and with our international partners to ensure accountability of security assistance now and in the future,” the official told reporters, according to The Gazette.
A senior U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Ukrainian government had committed to safeguarding and accounting for the weapons and there was no credible evidence they were being diverted.
Pentagon officials addressed the press after publishing a detailed series of steps the State Department would take over the next two years to ensure the weapons provided to Ukraine were used on the battlefield by the Ukrainian military and security forces rather than sold on the black market.
A senior U.S. defense official said that Ukrainian officials committed to safeguarding and accounting for the weapons despite no credible evidence of weapons being diverted, The Gazette reports.
According to the report — which includes short-, medium- and longer-term initiatives to bolster U.S. and Ukrainian accountability, strengthen border security, and build capacity with neighbor states — Ukraine must properly document and account for the weapons and monitor and investigate suspected weapons traffickers.
“Wars can provide opportunities for weapons to fall into private hands via theft or illicit sales, sometimes creating black markets for arms that endure for decades,” according to the report.
The New York Times reports U.S. officials have remained confident that the weapons donated to Ukraine have made it to the front lines of battle, but lawmakers demand accountability.
“American taxpayers deserve to know that their money is helping Ukraine beat back Russia effectively,” Republican Senator John Kennedy (LA) said earlier this year, according to The Times.
Ohio Senate Republican candidate J.D. Vance said the United States would have to “stop the money spigot to Ukraine eventually,” according to The Washington Post.
Idaho Republican Sen. James E. Risch told The Washington Post that he supported the war effort and would not pull aid and weapons packages if he became chair of the Foreign Relations Committee if the GOP takes over after the midterms.
“Ukrainians alone must decide the future of Ukraine. I support their fight for freedom, which they are winning on the battlefield,” Risch said in a statement to The Washington Post. “Any efforts to appease Putin are dangerous, irresponsible, and will only encourage Russia’s aggression.”
The Associated Press reports President Joe Biden has ruled out the possibility that U.S. military forces would engage in combat inside Ukraine.