Pentagon tells Republicans 'no evidence' that weapons for Ukraine are being diverted

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“What we’re not seeing is immoderate grounds of important diversion,” Kahl told lawmakers. “Our appraisal is if immoderate of these systems person been diverted it’s by Russians who person captured things connected nan battlefield, which ever happens, but that there’s nary grounds nan Ukrainians are diverting it to nan achromatic market.”

He added that Ukraine is “clearly utilizing what we are providing them ... to maximum effect” and are requesting much weapons.

At nan aforesaid time, Kahl pushed backmost connected bipartisan calls to proviso Ukraine pinch F-16 fighters, nan latest flashpoint betwixt President Joe Biden and Congress connected nan conflict.

The Armed Services convention is nan first specified nationalist proceeding devoted to U.S. subject support to Ukraine. Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) wants to intensify high-level nationalist oversight of assistance to show that weapons and instrumentality are going wherever they’re intended.

Top Democrats and Republicans are aiming to sphere nan bipartisan bloc that’s successfully enacted much than $100 cardinal successful emergency assistance since Russia launched its full-tilt penetration successful February 2022 successful a freshly divided Congress.

Pentagon Inspector General Robert Storch was pressed early by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) connected whether his agency has recovered instances of delicate weapons, specified arsenic Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, being mislaid aliases diverted.

“We person not substantiated immoderate specified instances,” Storch said.

Democrat John Garamendi of California later pressed Storch: “You’ve not recovered problems of immoderate awesome significance, is that correct?”

“A batch of these audits and evaluations are pending, but pinch respect to nan areas I’ve mentioned, we person constricted findings, nan section has been addressing them, and we’re going to proceed to look astatine nan issue,” Storch said. “So yes, that’s correct.”

Republicans who now power nan House are contending pinch a vocal number that opposes further backing for Ukraine. Proponents of much assistance are besides navigating a perchance austere backing ambiance arsenic conservatives push for spending cuts successful nan coming fund cycle.

Rogers and different defense leaders reason nan Pentagon must explicate publically really it tracks instrumentality arsenic portion of that effort.

Kahl told lawmakers that Ukrainian officials supply nan Pentagon pinch accusation connected their inventories and transportation logs. The Defense Department has provided Ukrainians pinch handheld scanners to nonstop information backmost to nan U.S. Defense officials based astatine nan U.S. embassy successful Kyiv person besides made tract visits.

“They person seen nary signs of diversion aliases that nan Ukrainians are not pursuing procedure,” Kahl said.

Some lawmakers besides dinged nan management for refusing to nonstop Ukraine weapons it has requested, specified arsenic longer-range artillery aliases U.S.-made warplanes. Rogers slammed Biden for being “overly worried” that sending definite weapons would beryllium viewed arsenic escalatory and said holding backmost has “only prolonged nan war.”

Kahl later pushed back, arguing nan management weighs what weapons to nonstop based connected Ukraine’s needs and imaginable effect connected U.S. subject readiness alternatively than concerns complete escalation.

He faced bipartisan disapproval complete Biden’s refusal to instantly nonstop F-16s to Ukraine. Biden said past week that Ukraine “doesn’t request F-16s now.”

The Pentagon argumentation main said nan astir optimistic timeline for delivering older F-16s would beryllium “about 18 months” while producing newer F-16s would return 3 to six years to deliver.

“It is simply a privilege for nan Ukrainians, but it’s not 1 of their apical 3 priorities,” Kahl said successful an speech pinch Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.). “Their apical priorities are aerial defense systems ... artillery and fires, which we’ve talked about, and armor and mechanized systems.”

Backers of sending Ukraine nan Lockheed Martin F-16s aliases akin jets, led by Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), released an updated letter connected Tuesday to Biden pinch further signatures. Sixteen lawmakers from some parties person now signed nan letter, first reported by POLITICO.

The panel’s apical Democrat, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, defended nan administration. He based on nan “best lawsuit scenario” would spot immoderate F-16s successful Ukraine wrong 8 months to a year.

“We looked astatine that and we wished that is not a wise usage of nan resources that are basal to triumph nan fight,” Smith said.

“No blank cheque intends nary blank check,” he said. “It intends we don’t conscionable nonstop everything that group inquire for successful nan blink of an oculus without reasoning astir it.”

Editor: Naga

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