US unable to track aid sent to Ukrainian soldiers: Politico
The United States is running into quite the obstacles when it comes to knowing where aid to Ukraine is going exactly as Washington does not know what the corrupt government is doing with the aid.
The Biden administration is running into major obstacles tracking the aid sent from Washington to Kiev, which has amounted to tens of billions of dollars since the start of the Ukraine war, resorting to blockchain technology and Ukrainian personnel to help them track the aid flowing into their country, a State Department cable obtained by Politico said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is mulling utilizing a certain unnamed US firm by February to implement a three-year initiative that would help with oversight regarding the aid making it into Ukraine, Politico said, citing a "sensitive but unclassified" document.
The cable, sent out from the US embassy in Kiev back in September, details what the United States is going through in terms of oversight as it tries and watch where its money is going as they abide by the restrictions and limits on the number of officials they can have in the field as well as the security measures prohibiting them from moving flexibly.
This comes after reports last month that said the Biden administration was scurrying to track down the approximately $20 billion in military aid it sent to Ukraine, amid a warning by Republicans of impending audits after they take over the House in January.
Incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has previously stated that Ukraine will not receive a "blank check". The purpose of the audit is meant to track how the funds are being delivered and exactly where - as prior suspicions point to many shipped arms ending up on the black market.
Controversial Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who announced the audit decision, promised to "hold our government accountable", as other colleagues such as Rep. Jason Crow echoed to The Washington Post: "The taxpayers deserve to know that investment is going where it's intended to go," adding: "In any war, there can be missteps and misallocation of supplies."
Former President Donald Trump slammed Washington's generous hand-over of cash and weapons to Ukraine: The US, according to Trump, has too many problems of its own to hand money and weapons to Ukraine for its conflict with Russia, insisting that if anything it's Europe that should be providing more help to Kiev given that they're more affected by the situation.
This itself comes after reports from US media said that as Washington and its western allies continue to pump weapons into Kiev, maintenance of the armaments is increasingly becoming a headache.
The aforementioned cable also talked about how crises such as the one in Ukraine can turn into a fiasco that Washington just throws money at until it becomes an over-expensive hassle that the cash allocated to cannot be tracked precisely due to the ensuing chaos and the corruption that the governments taking the money are notorious for, such as Ukraine and Afghanistan.
"Above all, kinetic activity and active combat between Ukrainian and Russian forces create an environment in which standard verification measures are sometimes impracticable or impossible," the cable read at one point.
"The United States takes very seriously our responsibility to ensure appropriate oversight of all US assistance," one State Department spokesperson said in a statement following reports on the matter.
In response to the Republicans trying to question Biden's decisions, Democrats are calling on their GOP counterparts to show unity in the United States regarding support for Ukraine so that Russia does not see the rift in Washington.
They are calling, instead, for special oversight regarding the aid to Ukraine in the long-run regardless of the planning suggested by higher-ups for solutions to the problem, such as an app that posts all the aid to a blockchain, the use of Ukrainian troops to conduct inspections on the ground, and the documentation of aid through photos upon their reception by beneficiaries.
Democrat lawmaker Sara Jacobs acknowledged, however, that the battles taking place in Ukraine would make it incredibly difficult for monitoring to take place. "We don’t have enough mobility within the country to really be able to do it," she said.
Meanwhile, the inspector general's office at the Department of Defense reiterated the same words, saying the war presented unique challenges for oversight, especially when it comes to determining exactly where weapons pumped into Ukraine go if they were not immediately deployed.
Meanwhile, weapons overused by the Ukrainian military are either being wiped out or damaged during the conflict.
At least one-third of the 350 US-made howitzers sent to Ukraine are already out of action, according to defense officials in the US.
The Pentagon has also sent Ukraine 142 M777 howitzers, which is enough to supply 8 battalions, according to the report.
Additionally, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed in late November that the US had 'challenging' plans to provide aid to Ukraine in light of the coming winter time.
However, in regards to military activity, it is expected by the US to maintain operations and continue in Ukraine even during the winter time but a few certain activities will be put on hold due to the weather.
Moreover, in addition to burdening the US with requests for aid, Ukraine is selling weapons it acquired from its allies on the black market due to the Kiev forces' limited ability to use them because of their lack of training, logistical challenges, and the diminishing size of the Ukrainian armed force, according to former senior Pentagon adviser Karen Kwiatkowski.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu previously said the arms supplied by the West to Ukraine were ending up on the black market and spreading across West Asia. This validates the Pentagon's concerns, as sensitive technology being sent to Ukraine would not be the best for the US on the long term.