Pentagon underestimated the value of arms for Ukraine by $3bn

People familiar with the situation said that the Pentagon underestimated the value of the weapons sent to Ukraine in an accounting mistake by $3bn. This could have a negative impact on the funds available for arming this war-torn nation when they run out.

One of the people who spoke to us said that the error was made by using incorrectly the cost of replacing weapons from US stocks with new equipment instead of the purchase price plus depreciation. Reuters was the first to report the Pentagon’s overestimation in the value of its assistance to Ukraine.

The Congress approved last year $48bn of assistance for Ukraine. This included $21.7bn to purchase military equipment, and money to replace Pentagon weapons that have been sent to Ukraine.

Some legislators thought that these funds would be exhausted by the end the summer. US officials said they would last through October. It is not clear how the mistake may affect that timeline.

Since Russia’s invasion began on February 20, 2022, US have committed $37bn of lethal aid for Ukraine. This includes Javelin and Stinger systems, heavy artillery and tanks, as well as a Patriotair defense battery and other air-defence systems. The US has contributed a large amount of money to the Ukraine, mainly from its stockpiles. However, it also includes funds for weapon contracts.

The White House will decide whether to provide new aid to Kyiv. Washington and its allies are sending military aid to Ukraine in advance of a planned offensive that they hope will give it momentum in the war.

Some of Ukraine’s allies are concerned about the future of the aid when the current funds expire. Senior European officials are increasingly worried about the flow next year, as the US begins a divisive election campaign.

Roger Wicker said that the Department of Defense changed its method of evaluating the cost of sending arms to Ukraine.

He continued: “It would have the effect of underestimating future needs for our European Allies.” The priority for us should be to win the Ukrainian war against [Vladimir] Putin. “A unilateral change in military aid calculations undermines the goal and is an act of deception.”