An official from the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said Thursday that US military leaders should consider sending weapons inspectors to Ukraine to monitor the billions of dollars in arms the US is pouring into the country.
Currently, the US is relying on the word of Ukrainian officials to ensure that the weapons are being properly used and stored, although The New York Times reported that CIA operatives are on the ground in Ukraine, mostly in Kyiv. The Times report also said that special operations forces from other NATO countries are inside Ukraine serving as “conduits” for Western weapons.
The DSCA is the arm of the Pentagon in charge of arms sales, and the suggestion to send weapons inspectors comes as some members of Congress have been calling for more oversight of Ukraine aid. “Over time, we would like to be able to extend our insights with greater presence on the ground,” said Jed Royal, the deputy director of the DSCA.
The idea would be for the Pentagon to send personnel to physically inspect the weapons and check serial numbers. Royal said that if inspectors were sent in, it would not be “some kind of operational detachment or anything along those lines.”
But the Pentagon sending personnel into Ukraine would still be viewed as a provocation by Moscow as it would represent Washington’s further intervention and entrenchment in the war. The inspectors could also be at risk, as the Russian military frequently reports strikes on Ukrainian warehouses storing Western arms.
Royal said that senior Biden administration officials would be the ones to ultimately decide if and when weapons inspectors would be sent into Ukraine. If the US does send inspectors, the next possible escalation of its involvement in the war could be sending contractors to maintain equipment as the weapons Washington is sending are getting more and more advanced.