Watchdog Received Nearly 200 Complaints Related To Ukraine Aid

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Three government watchdog organizations tasked with monitoring U.S. aid to Ukraine have jointly received almost 200 complaints of misconduct as of March 1, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Department of Defense (DOD), State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) inspectors general (OIGs) have coordinated since June on accountability efforts for U.S. weapons and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, publishing a comprehensive oversight plan in January. Out of 189 allegations of misconduct, the OIGs have yet to document a confirmed case of diversion, theft or other mismanagement of the $113 billion appropriated for use in Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, according to the report.

Watchdogs “have committed to hold accountable those who seek to corrupt or abuse the U.S. Government’s Ukraine response programs and activities and have taken steps to identify and respond to allegations of waste, fraud and abuse,” the report stated.

Each group operates a separate hotline for gathering reports of misconduct. After they publicized a poster with information on how to reach the agencies in January, the volume of incoming calls increased significantly, the report said.

Some of those allegations came from Ukrainian citizens, according to the report. (RELATED: General Mark Milley Admits US Oversight Of Weapons Going To Ukraine Is ‘Not As Rigorous As You Might Think’)

The OIGs do not themselves conduct end use monitoring, the process of determining whether recipients of American weapons and sensitive equipment employ that assistance according to the conditions laid out in transfer agreements, the report stated. However, they do ensure that ongoing end use monitoring initiatives at the State Department and DOD are carried out effectively.

Achieving accountability in a country where the U.S. has a limited physical footprint and security conditions restrict personnel from traveling far outside of Kyiv presents challenges, the OIGs said.

An October 2022 report found deficiencies in DOD’s end use monitoring program. DOD has not identified any clear instances of illicit weapons diversion in Ukraine, such as selling equipment to unauthorized users, officials told Congress at a hearing in February.

Each watchdog has enjoyed relatively smooth relations with other U.S. organizations, other governments and international governmental organizations, they said, but argued a permanent presence of OIG personnel in Kyiv would make oversight efforts both easier and more effective.

The joint watchdog has issued 17 reports so far, and the DOD arm is currently working on its third evaluation of weapons end use monitoring, the report states.

Most U.S. funding goes toward weapons deliveries and military training, support for law enforcement, war crimes investigation, de-mining, financial support for the Ukrainian government and humanitarian assistance for civilians, according to the report. Other assistance includes support for European countries hosting Ukrainian refugees and money to replenish U.S. weapons stocks from those provided to the Ukrainian military.

The heads of each agency traveled to Ukraine in January and came back with favorable impressions regarding the integrity of U.S. assistance to Ukraine, according to the report.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hear testimony from the three inspectors general Wednesday morning.

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