The US is sending forces to inspect American military aid delivery sites in Ukraine and keep lethal weapons off the black market, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
It is the first time US forces have set foot outside the confines of the Kyiv embassy, which has been guarded by Marines since American diplomats returned in May after fleeing the city ahead of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion.
The checks are used by the Defense and State Departments to track US-provided weaponry and ensure the more than $18 billion worth of military aid Washington has pledged Ukraine does not end up in the wrong hands, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said.
“We have no indication that there has been any type of illicit spread of the capabilities that we provided to the Ukrainians that are being used effectively on the battlefield,” Ryder said, adding that the service members are being kept “far away from any type of frontline action.”
The State Department last week released its blueprint to help “limit potential illicit diversion of weapons by Russia’s forces, Russia’s proxies, and non-state actors.”