The Pentagon is establishing a new team in Ukraine to monitor US security assistance to Kyiv, as a growing number of Republican lawmakers are calling for more oversight into how the money is being used, CNN reports.
The Defence Department Inspector General said a senior US representative began work in Ukraine in late August, and additional personnel are expected to arrive by the end of September. The personnel, based at the US embassy in Kyiv, will monitor US aid, which has totaled more than $43.7bn since the start of the Biden administration.
The establishment of the new team comes at a critical time for Ukraine aid. The Biden administration recently asked Congress for $24bn more in assistance, including $13bn in security assistance, as the president and other senior administration officials have vowed to continue US aid for “as long as it takes.”
But some increasingly skeptical Republicans have raised questions about how much bipartisan support there is for such substantial sums of aid. A growing number of Republicans have begun questioning the wisdom of spending billions of dollars in Ukraine and have called for greater oversight.
A Defence Department inspector general report obtained by CNN warned that the ability of the US to monitor billions of dollars in aid flowing into Ukraine faced “challenges” because of the limited US presence.
The report, dated October 2022, underscored how difficult it was for the US to track the vast quantities of weapons, ammunition and equipment during the early months of the war. Criminals, volunteer fighters and arms traffickers in Ukraine attempted to steal some of the Western-provided weapons and equipment before it was recovered by Ukrainian intelligence, the report found.
The United States recently announced additional security assistance to Ukraine. The total cost of the package is up to $600mn.
The administration of U.S. President Joseph Biden announced additional security assistance to Ukraine in the amount of $175mn. This package includes air defence equipment, ammunition, and depleted uranium shells for Abrams tanks.