WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (AP) — The Pentagon’s inspector general said Tuesday that his office has so far found no evidence that billions of dollars in weapons and aid to Ukraine have been lost through corruption or diverted to the wrong hands, But cautioned that those investigations were only in their early stages.
Protecting military aid to Ukraine from waste or fraud has become a key part of Congress’ continued support for Ukraine, and some lawmakers have begun to question why the United States is spending so much money helping Kiev.
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Robert P. Storch has repeatedly pressed members of Congress about any fraud findings. He said a new hotline had received some tips and allegations, but so far had “limited findings” and many reports were pending.
Storch, who is testifying alongside other Pentagon leaders before the House Armed Services Committee, has repeatedly said he does not want to talk about the pending investigation.
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Congress has appropriated more than $100 billion for military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and NATO allies, the committee chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, said.
Of that, the United States has contributed more than $75 billion to date, including nearly $32 billion in weapons and training from the Pentagon to Ukraine since the Russian invasion.
“These are unprecedented numbers. It requires unprecedented oversight from Congress,” Rogers said.
Members of Congress have long questioned how closely the U.S. tracks its aid to Ukraine to ensure it doesn’t get fraudulent or fall into the wrong hands.
The Pentagon has a “robust program” to track aid across the border into Ukraine and monitor it after it reaches the country, depending on the sensitivity of each weapon system, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig said. Gen. Pat Ryder said at a news conference on Tuesday. Ryder said there is also a small group of Americans in the country working with the Ukrainians, conducting physical inspections where possible, but also virtual inspections when needed, since these teams do not travel to the front lines of the war.
Accountability in Ukraine comes as some lawmakers oppose continued funding for the war. Earlier this month, a panel of 11 House Republicans unveiled a “Ukraine Fatigue” resolution.
It said the US “must end military and financial aid to Ukraine” and urged fighters to “reach a peace agreement”.
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Carr told lawmakers that the United States has been careful to provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs as the war rages on. He said he believed Ukrainian leaders were aware of concerns about accountability and “I do think they are taking those issues seriously”. (Associated Press)
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