McConnell: Ukraine Aid Subject To “Unprecedented” Oversight
‘This is a win-win. The United States gets unprecedented insight into how our weapons are being used - often over used - in combat which helps us improve and maintain America’s own arsenal. U.S. forces also get a unique view into the situation on the battlefield and the challenges Ukrainian forces are facing.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding aid to Ukraine:
“I’ve spoken in recent days about the most common arguments deployed against U.S. assistance to the fight against Putin in Ukraine. And how they fall short. Today, I’d like to address the misconception that America’s lethal aid lacks necessary accountability and protections against misuse.
“The United States probably has a deeper understanding of how Ukraine is using weapons provided by the United States and our allies than we have had with any other partner nation. Period.
“There are many reasons for this. First, Ukraine is not Iraq or Afghanistan. It is a modern democracy, firmly committed to integration with the West.
“Second, Russia’s escalation last year led to a political sea change in how Ukraine treats corruption. Today, corruption and misuse of funds or weapons can mean the death of loved ones or imperil critical Western support.
“I’m not say that corruption has not vanished. Even in the worst conflicts or most advanced democracies, human nature remains. But the cost calculus has changed. And robust, independent anti-corruption bodies are making a difference.
“Third, American diplomats, military officers, and USAID employees have finally returned to Kyiv. Their presence allows for more oversight and accountability of our assistance.
“Senators who have visited the American-led headquarters in Germany and seen the professional multinational effort supporting Ukraine, firsthand, have come away impressed. They’ve also been impressed by Lieutenant General Tony Aguto, the senior American officer who runs this effort and was confirmed by the Senate last year by voice vote.
“Through these coalition efforts, we have unprecedented insight into how nearly 30 types of Western weapons systems and vehicles are being used by Ukraine, often down to the serial number.
“Take for example an American-led effort in Poland that remotely assists Ukrainian units on the front lines to maintain and repair various weapons and vehicles. When troubles arise, Ukrainian units have every incentive to share data, photos, and video in real-time about the status of their weapons and benefit from engineering solutions we provide to help maintain and repair these weapons in the field.
“This is a win-win. The United States gets unprecedented insight into how our weapons are being used – often over used – in combat which helps us improve and maintain America’s own arsenal. U.S. forces also get a unique view into the situation on the battlefield and the challenges Ukrainian forces are facing.
“Given his oversight role and regular contact with Ukrainian commanders, I’ve requested the Administration make Lieutenant General Aguto available to brief Senators on these insights.
“Finally, here in the Senate, Ranking Member Risch, Ranking Member Wicker, Vice Chairman Collins, and Vice Chairman Rubio have been conducting proactive oversight based on lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We have ensured that $50 million was included in previous supplementals specifically to conduct oversight of assistance to Ukraine. We have added dozens of transparency and reporting requirements so Congress has more insight than ever.
“And tomorrow, my colleagues will have an opportunity to learn even more. At my request, the inspectors general for the Pentagon, the State Department, and USAID will come to brief Republican Senators on the state of their own independent oversight of these assistance efforts. Already, as the State Department’s IG put it, quote: ‘Our completed work has not substantiated any allegations of diversion.’
“So it’s my hope each of our colleagues will take this opportunity to get the facts from these independent auditors.”
Related Issues: America's Military, National Security, Ukraine, Russia