A recent Pentagon report reveals that over $1 billion worth of military equipment, including shoulder-fired missiles, kamikaze drones, and night-vision goggles, sent by the United States to Ukraine has not been adequately tracked by American officials.

The findings, released by the Defense Department’s inspector general, raise concerns about these weapons’ potential theft or smuggling and definitely provide fodder for Republican politicians who oppose additional aid for Kyiv.

Still, the Pentagon said there is no evidence that military assistance provided to Kyiv has been illicitly diverted. The report rather highlights a failure in tracking and accountability.

“There remains no credible evidence of illicit diversion of US-provided advanced conventional weapons from Ukraine,” Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told journalists Thursday.

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The weapons, considered sensitive and attractive to arms smugglers, were supposed to be closely monitored, given their battlefield impact, but American officials failed to do it adequately.

The quantity of weapons assessed in the report is just a tiny portion of the approximately $50 billion worth of military equipment that the United States has supplied to Ukraine since 2014.

The report didn’t specify the number, but it estimated a potential loss of about $1 billion for high-risk items sent to Ukraine, out of a total of $1.69 billion in weapons.

By June, the latest data available, the US supplied Ukraine with 10,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles, 2,500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles, 750 kamikaze drones, 430 air-to-air missiles, and 23,000 night-vision goggles.

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However, up to 60 percent of these were labelled “delinquent” due to delays in tracking databases or omissions after leaving US military stockpiles.

The shortfall can be explained by factors including the “limited number of US personnel at logistics hubs in a partner nation and in Ukraine,” and restrictions on the movement of monitoring personnel in the country, the statement said.

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When a serial number inventory is conducted, officials view the item and write down or scan its barcode, then update that information in a database, according to an official from the inspector general’s office.

Efforts to improve accountability include providing Ukrainian troops with handheld barcode scanners, allowing instant transmission of serial numbers to American databases.

However, only ten scanners have been provided, none of which are on the front lines.

Still, the report notes that Ukrainian military officials were more diligent than their American counterparts in tracking equipment.

In a specific instance, out of a selection of 303 equipment pieces sent to Ukraine from February 2022 to March 2023, the report revealed that American officials could verify 47 during their passage through logistics centers in Poland. Additionally, only 15 were recorded as arriving in Ukraine.

In contrast, Ukrainian officials demonstrated better diligence by successfully accounting for 73 pieces of equipment, indicating a more meticulous approach to inventory updates.

Washington has spearheaded the push for international support for Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, forging a coalition to back the country and coordinating tens of billions of dollars in aid that has helped Kyiv’s forces push Moscow’s troops back.

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While US authorities have authorization to withdraw more military equipment for Ukraine from American stockpiles, “we don’t have the funds available to us to replenish those stocks,” Ryder said.

Republicans have refused to authorize new budget outlays for Ukraine unless Democrats first agree to sweeping, tough new measures to curb illegal immigration and tighten the asylum process.

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