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Accounting errors free up $3 billion for Ukraine arms aid


(CNN) The Biden administration made an accounting error in assessing the value of the military aid the United States has given Ukraine to date, and released an additional approx. $3 billion in aid, an amount likely to mitigate the need for Congress to pass an additional aid package before the end of the fiscal year in September, several congressional and administration officials told CNN.

The error — which lawmakers and congressional staffers were briefed on Thursday — sparked frustration from Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committee. They believe the error reduced the amount of US aid going to Ukraine before the counteroffensive.

“The disclosure of a three billion dollar accounting error discovered two months ago and only today shared with Congress is extremely problematic, to say the least. Those funds could have been used for additional supplies and weapons for the upcoming counteroffensive instead for rationing funds to last the remainder of the fiscal year,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul and House Armed Services Chairman Mike Rogers wrote in a statement Thursday.

Before this new information emerged, the Pentagon had said that just over $2.3 billion remained available to Ukraine’s Presidential Disarmament Authority. Now, because of this disclosure, about $5.3 billion is still available, far more than even the largest single package delivered to Ukraine.

The briefing to Bakken comes after the White House told CNN it does not currently plan to ask Congress for new Ukraine funding before the end of the fiscal year in late September, pitting administration officials against some lawmakers and congressional staffers, who are worried that the funds could run out in the middle of the summer.

But now that more funding is available, congressional sources said they are less concerned about the immediate need for a new funding package for Ukraine. They believe that it is likely that the newfound funding will carry the US aid to Ukraine through the end of the summer.

The accounting error occurred because when the United States transferred weapons to Ukraine, they counted the value of replacing the weapon instead of the value of the actual weapon, defense officials explained. That drove up the price of each package – because new weapons cost more than old weapons – and resulted in the false assumption that more of the funding had been used.

McCaul and Rogers said the administration should “make up for this precious lost time by using these funds to provide Ukraine with the DPICMS and ATACMS they need to fuel the counteroffensive and win the war.”

The US has resisted giving Ukraine the army’s tactical missile systems – which can hit targets over 185 miles away – both because the missiles are in limited supply and because the US worries that Russia will see them as too provocative. The US has also opposed sending cluster munitions to Ukraine – known as Dual-Purpose Enhanced Conventional Munitions or DPICMs – because many countries are staunch opponents of it and the US believes there are too many disadvantages to the use of cluster munitions due to .high risk they pose to civilians.

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