CBS published a documentary called ‘Arming Ukraine’ detailing how much of America’s military aid to Ukraine has disappeared. Jonas Ohman, founder of the nonprofit Blue-Yellow, provides an assessment in the documentary that only as little as 30% of the military aid sent by the US ever reached the front lines.
The CBS documentary prompted a massive backlash from Ukraine’s loudest supporters on social media, with many demanding that the channel retract the report – all because it made Ukraine look bad. And CBS capitulated, putting out a retraction to state that the information was old and that the “delivery has improved.” The documentary is being “updated” accordingly. It’s anyone’s guess whether CBS got the call from on high, or if it simply caved in to the demands of Twitter users with Ukrainian flags in their profile.
Regardless of the retraction, the concerns are valid and echo those raised by US intelligence sources who told CNN in April that Washington has no idea where the weapons it’s sending are actually ending up.
“We have fidelity for a short time, but when it enters the fog of war, we have almost zero,” said one of the sources. “It drops into a big black hole, and you have almost no sense of it at all after a short period of time.”
Even more recently, in July, NATO and EU states demanded accountability from Ukraine for the weapons flowing into the country, noting that everything from MANPADs and rifle ammunition, to armored vehicles aren’t being properly tracked – if at all.
The Financial Times reported that NATO states called on Kiev’s leadership to establish detailed inventory lists and tracking for weapons supplied by the West.
“All these weapons land in southern Poland, get shipped to the border and then are just divided up into vehicles to cross: trucks, vans, sometimes private cars,” sa Western official told the FT. “And from that moment we go blank on their location and we have no idea where they go, where they are used or even if they stay in the country.”
Such an assessment belies CBS’ new claim that “delivery has improved,” which would not account for the billions in munitions and military aid sent to Ukraine since the onset of the conflict.
Apart from highly-regulated armaments such as the US’ state-of-the-art HIMARS mobile artillery pieces, much of the weaponry sent to Ukraine has simply disappeared into a black hole – a fact made evident by concerns raised by Swedish police who warned that “there is probably a high risk that flows of illegal weapons will enter Sweden.”
With so little accountability about where any of the weapons are going, and an unwillingness to face the facts, the West may stand to face something akin to a renewal of the War on Terror, especially with existing threats such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS already in the process of regrouping and rebuilding – and potentially rearming with Western weapons.
What happens to weapons sent to Ukraine? The US doesn’t really know
By Katie Bo Lillis, Jeremy Herb, Natasha Bertrand and Oren Liebermann, CNN
Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT) April 19, 2022
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