The Pentagon says it has overestimated the value of the weapons it has sent to Ukraine by $6.2bn – about double early estimates – resulting in a surplus that will be used for future security packages.

A detailed review of the accounting error found that the replacement cost was used rather than the book value of equipment that was pulled from stocks, said Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh.

The Pentagon previously made a similar announcement, in May, that it had overestimated the value of the ammunition, missiles and other equipment by about $3bn, and the figure could grow with further investigation. On Tuesday, Singh said final calculations showed there was an error of $3.6bn in the current fiscal year and $2.6bn in the 2022 fiscal year, which ended on 30 September.

As a result, the department has additional money to use to support Ukraine as it pursues its counteroffensive against Russia. It come as the fiscal year is wrapping up and congressional funding was beginning to dwindle.

“It’s just going to go back into the pot of money that we have allocated for the future Pentagon stock drawdowns,” said Singh.

The Pentagon has repeatedly used presidential drawdown authority to pull weapons, ammunition and other equipment off the shelves, so that it can get to Ukraine far more quickly than going through a purchase process.

Based on previous estimates announced on 13 June, the US had committed more than $40bn in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded. Using the new calculation, the US has actually provided less than $34bn in aid.

Officials have not been able to give exact totals for the amount of money that remains for the drawdowns or for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which provides longer-term funding to purchase weapons, including some of the larger air defence systems.

The US has approved four rounds of aid to Ukraine in response to Russia’s invasion, totalling about $113bn, with some of that money going toward replenishment of US military equipment that was sent to the frontlines. Congress approved the latest round of aid in December, totalling roughly $45bn for Ukraine and Nato allies. While the package was designed to last to the end of the fiscal year in September, much depends upon events on the ground, particularly as the new counteroffensive ramps up.

President Joe Biden and his senior national security leaders have repeatedly stated that the US will help Ukraine for “as long as it takes” to repel the Russian invasion. Privately, administration officials have warned Ukrainian officials that there is a limit to the patience of a narrowly divided Congress – and American public – for the costs of a war with no clear end.

Members of Congress have repeatedly pressed defence department leaders on how closely the US is tracking its aid to Ukraine to ensure that it is not subject to fraud or ending up in the wrong hands. The Pentagon has said it has a “robust programme” to track the aid as it crosses the border into Ukraine and to keep tabs on it once it is there, depending on the sensitivity of each weapons system.

Singh said the accounting mistake would not affect the continuing delivery of aid to Ukraine.

Associated Press


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