American money

Pentagon reports $6.2 billion accounting error in valuing aid to Ukraine

The Pentagon has uncovered a significant accounting error that led it to overvalue the amount of military equipment it sent to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion last year — by $6.2 billion.

The “valuation errors,” as a Pentagon spokeswoman put it, will allow the Pentagon to send more weapons to Ukraine now before going to Congress to request more money.

Ukraine is mounting a counteroffensive to regain parts of its territory, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is urging backers to send more weapons, more quickly.

The error, which was first reported last month at a lower amount of about $3 billion, occurred because Pentagon officials erroneously calculated the totals using replacement values for the weapons, rather than their current values, said spokeswoman Sabrina Singh.

The calculation ultimately was off by $2.6 billion in the 2022 fiscal year and $3.6 billion in 2023, she said Tuesday. But the errors in no way “impacted the provision of support to Ukraine,” she said.

The Biden administration has sent more than $40 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded 16 months ago, according to the Pentagon.

As Ukraine’s counteroffensive heats up, Washington holds its breath

The administration last week unveiled a package of military assistance to Ukraine worth up to $325 million. The package, which includes tanks and artillery, is designed to support the counteroffensive and marks the 40th time that the administration has moved to draw from the Defense Department’s weapons stocks to aid Ukraine since August 2021, the Pentagon says.

But support for U.S. assistance to Ukraine has been declining, particularly among Republicans. In a survey conducted this month by the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said the United States is giving too much aid to Ukraine — up 35 points from the month following Russia’s invasion. Support from Democrats and those who lean Democratic has remained high and relatively steady during that time.

With the 2024 presidential election campaign underway, pressure is growing on the administration to justify its generous financial support of Ukraine and to ensure that the aid is not being misused or wasted.

Ukraine clamps down on corruption as Western supporters cast watchful eye

The Pentagon first revealed last month that it uncovered “inconsistencies in equipment valuation for Ukraine.” Officials had warned that the amount could grow as the department reviewed its previous aid packages.

The errors free up funds that can be allocated without congressional approval before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

Singh, the Pentagon spokeswoman, said Tuesday that the errors were identified “during the department’s regular oversight of our execution of presidential drawdown authority for Ukraine.”

“In a significant number of cases, services used replacement costs rather than net book value, thereby overestimating the value of the equipment drawn down from U.S. stocks and provided to Ukraine,” she said.

“Once we discovered this misvaluation, the comptroller reissued guidance on March 31st clarifying how to value equipment in line with the financial management regulation and DOD policy to ensure we use the most accurate of accounting methods,” she added.

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