Two GOP congresswomen have cited a CBS news report showing that 70% of weapons shipped to Kiev aren’t making it to the front lines. Likely being sold on the black market, sold in the Middle East, stored for later use by nationalists in a civil war (i.e. think IS or the Taliban rising), or given to criminal gangs who’ll eventually move into Europe in a few years’ time, turning Ukraine into another Mexico.
Republican lawmakers are feeling vindicated for opposing a $40 billion Ukraine aid package after a CBS News report showed that only 30% of the Western weapons flooding into the country are actually making it to the front lines in Kiev’s conflict with Russia.
“This [is] one of the reasons I voted ‘no,’” US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) said on Twitter in a retweet of the CBS News post. Greene was among 57 House Republicans who voted against the massive aid bill, which passed overwhelmingly in May with the support of all Democrats and most GOP lawmakers. Eleven Republicans opposed the bill in the Senate, where it passed by an 86-11 margin.
The CBS story noted that with nearly $60 billion in US and Western European aid approved for Ukraine since Russia’s military offensive began in February, most of the weaponry has failed to get through to Ukrainian fighters. Getting weapons to the troops involves navigating a complex network of “power lords, oligarchs [and] political players,” the outlet cited Lithuanian aid group founder Jonas Ohman as saying. Amnesty International senior crisis adviser Donatella Rovera told CBS that “there is really no information” on where the weapons are going.
Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) said such scrutiny had been dismissed prior to the CBS report. “How many people were called Russian bots for saying this exact same thing since March? Now, when CBS says it, it’s perfectly fine. Whatever the case, glad the facts are out now. The majority of the Ukraine aid is a scam.”
US Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) delayed the Senate’s vote on the Ukraine aid bill by insisting on adding a provision appointing an inspector general to monitor how the money was being spent. His colleagues refused to include the oversight requirement and passed the massive package a few days later. A US intelligence official told CNN in April that arms shipments were dropping “into a big black hole” once they reached Ukraine.
Greene, Boebert and other lawmakers who voted against the aid bill were pilloried by critics for failing to support Ukraine. After Greene argued that the US government was focused on sending billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine at a time when American mothers couldn’t even buy formula for their babies, Democrats accused her of standing “with President Putin in the face of Russian aggression.” Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) said she was “repeating Putin’s propaganda and disinformation” and “appeasing imperialist assaults on sovereign nations.”
The Georgia lawmaker also tussled with a fellow Republican after Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) defended the Ukraine aid package by saying “investing in the destruction of our adversary’s military, without losing a single American troop, strikes me as a good idea.” Greene replied, “So you think we are funding a proxy war with Russia? You speak as if Ukrainian lives should be thrown away, as if they have no value. Just used and thrown away.”
With the US and its allies pledging unprecedented levels of military support to Ukraine, a recent CBS News report suggested that only around 30% of the weapons sent by the West actually make it to the front lines. The report adds to ongoing rumors of waste, corruption, and black market profiteering.
The US has approved more than $54 billion of economic and military aid to Ukraine since February, while the UK has committed nearly $3 billion in military aid alone, and the EU has spent another $2.5 billion on arms for Kiev. An entire spectrum of equipment, from rifles and grenades to anti-tank missiles and multiple launch rocket systems have left the West’s armories for Ukraine, with most entering the country through Poland.
However, this rarely goes smoothly, CBS News revealed this week.
“All of this stuff goes across the border, and then something happens, kind of like 30% of it reaches its final destination,” Jonas Ohman, the founder of a Lithuania-based organization supplying the Ukrainian military, told the American network. Ohman said that getting the weapons to the troops involves navigating a complex network of “power lords, oligarchs [and] political players.”
The new CBS Reports documentary, “Arming Ukraine,” explores why much of the billions of dollars of military aid that the U.S. is sending to Ukraine doesn’t make it to the front lines: “Like 30% of it reaches its final destination.” Stream now: https://t.co/Ob7Y3EsWknpic.twitter.com/YgVbpYZkHn
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 5, 2022
“There is really no information as to where they’re going at all,” Donatella Rovera, a senior crisis adviser with Amnesty International, told CBS. “What is really worrying is that some countries that are sending weapons do not seem to think that it is their responsibility to put in place a very robust oversight mechanism.”
Back in mid-May Republicans in the US House of Representatives were divided over Washington’s aid pipeline to Ukraine, with establishment politicians touting a “proxy war” with Russia while members of the populist Freedom Caucus argue that Congress is neglecting domestic priorities while provoking a nuclear-armed adversary.
The infighting escalated as the House passed a $39.8 billion military and economic aid package for Kiev. While Democrats voted in lockstep to support the spending binge, 57 Republicans gave the plan a thumbs-down. Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), who was among the 149 GOP members who voted yes, followed up on Wednesday by saying that “Investing in the destruction of our adversary’s military without losing a single American troop strikes me as a good idea.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) shot back that Crenshaw was pushing a “proxy war.” She added, “You speak as if Ukrainian lives should be thrown away, as if they have no value, just used and thrown away. For your proxy war? How does that help Americans? How does any of this help?”