FIRST ON FOX: Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, is sending a memo to GOP colleagues ahead of Wednesday afternoon’s closed-door meeting on Ukraine, warning lawmakers about the latest Department of Defense (DOD) report that he said detailed the “shortcomings in monitoring U.S. aid to Ukraine.”
The January 2024 report, the most recent in a series of government watchdog publications highlighting deficiencies in overseeing U.S. aid to Ukraine, outlines the inadequacies of both the Biden administration and the Ukrainian Armed Forces in effectively monitoring U.S.-supplied weapons.
The report from the Inspector General specifically delves into enhanced end-use monitoring (EEUM), a classification reserved for weapons that “incorporate sensitive technology,” are “particularly susceptible to diversion or misuse,” or could have “serious consequences” if diverted or misused.
According to the report, a substantial 59%, or $1.005 billion out of the total $1.699 billion value of EEUM-designated weapons sent to Ukraine, were classified as “delinquent.” This means that they were not monitored in accordance with DOD standards.
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“Claims of radical transparency and tracking of U.S. weapons in Ukraine are simply not accurate,” Vance wrote in the memo. “Assertions that ‘there is no evidence of illicit transfer of EEUM defense articles provided to Ukraine’ sidestep the reality that an accurate, up-to-date inventory of U.S.- supplied weapons in Ukraine – which the DOD IG report demonstrates that the U.S. does not have – is necessary to determine whether weapons have fallen into the wrong hands.”
The report also noted the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) and U.S. personnel didn’t properly monitor important defense items, making it difficult to know if they were misused or stolen. The report revealed that the UAF failed to provide expenditure reports by serial number to U.S. personnel.
Vance wrote, “U.S. personnel on the ground could not keep up with the volume of weapons streaming into Ukraine and failed to keep an accurate, timely record of them” and that, “There was no live, comprehensive database of equipment sent to Ukraine, and systemic failures inhibited the proper validation of reports of lost or expended equipment.”
Lastly, Vance wrote in the memo that “EEUM procedures were not designed for use in war zones like Ukraine, and were thus less effective in ensuring oversight of U.S.-supplied weapons.”
“There were no official procedures for conducting EEUM in a hostile environment like Ukraine’s until December 2022 – more than nine months after this latest iteration of the Ukraine-Russia conflict began,” he said.
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Vance, a vocal critic of more aid to Ukraine without proper oversight alongside a handful of other Republicans, previously said the U.S. needs to accept that Ukraine must “cede some territory” to Russia and that American leadership must ensure the U.S. is “not writing more blank checks” to fund Kyiv’s forces.
Lawmakers have a private Senate GOP conference meeting to discuss additional aid to Ukraine on Wednesday afternoon as the White House has already depleted the amount of funds it can send without congressional approval. Border security is the key to more Ukraine assistance.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have remained in lockstep when it comes to pairing Ukraine aid and border security together, despite several dissenting voices in the GOP arguing they should be voted on separately.
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Negotiations to secure a deal on the border are ongoing, and it’s unclear when an agreement will be finalized. But it will likely face an uphill battle when it does get a vote in the upper chamber and makes it to the GOP-controlled House.