A staggering $1 billion worth of weapons, paid for by American taxpayers, has gone “missing” in Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has admitted.
The bombshell admission was revealed in a report from the DOD Inspector General (IG).
According to an internal audit released by the DOD IG, Pentagon officials admitted that they had “lost track” of the weapons after they arrived in Ukraine.
The DOD is supposed to use special “enhanced end-use monitoring techniques” to keep track of the weapons.
These monitoring techniques are intended to “safeguard” key weapons such as smaller, high-tech weaponry provided to Ukraine.
The Pentagon needs to closely monitor such weapons as they are likely targets for theft and could end up in the hands of adversaries.
The audit says these monitoring procedures are not properly being followed in Ukraine, however.
Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration claims the protocols are not being followed due to staffing shortages, poor internal logistics, and more.
The report notes that, as of June 2023, Ukraine has received $1.7 billion in enhanced end-use monitoring designated weapons, all paid for by U.S. taxpayers.
However, the audit found that $1 billion of the $1.7B — or 59% — in weapons provided to Ukraine are “delinquent,” meaning they can’t be accounted for in inventory reports.
It’s possible that the weapons are being used properly.
They also could have been stolen by Russian forces or sold on the black market by corrupt Ukrainian officials.
Nevertheless, the Pentagon does not know where they are.
The 59% delinquency rate is an improvement over the 86% of weapons that were unaccounted for in December 2022.
The weapons include night-vision devices, anti-tank missiles, attack drones, and small-diameter bombs.
The report also found that inventory databases were not regularly updated and that the Ukrainian Armed Forces failed to properly report missing weapons.
Officials have stressed that the DOD’s failure to keep track of the weaponry does not necessarily mean it was stolen.
The Army, Air Force, and more agreed that procedures would be fully updated by September 2024.
The Biden administration has sent over $75 billion to Ukraine since February 2022, including $44 billion in military aid.
Some Republican leaders are already trying to block Biden’s request for additional funds for Ukraine.
The missing weapons could strengthen their arguments.
This is not the first time weapons have gone missing during Biden’s administration.
In Afghanistan in 2021, the Taliban seized seven U.S. helicopters, each worth as much as $21 million.
The DOD also “lost track” of $174 million of drones provided to Afghanistan.
Biden officials then removed official reports on Afghanistan weaponry spending from government websites.
The DOD has a long history of inadequately tracking its finances, having failed its last six annual audits.
“There remains no credible evidence of illicit diversion of U.S.-provided advanced conventional weapons from Ukraine,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick 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.”
While there is no direct evidence that weapons in Ukraine have actually been misused, the $1 billion inventory error calls into question the White House’s constant assurances that any aid would be carefully tracked.