Biden Administration national security advisor Jake Sullivan defended an “accounting error” that overestimated the value of weapons and other aid that have been sent to Ukraine, freeing up roughly $3 billion in additional aid to the beleaguered nation.
The error was the result of assigning a higher than warranted value on weaponry that was taken from U.S. stocks and then shipped to Ukraine, Reuters reported, quoting two Defense Department officials. “We’ve discovered inconsistencies in how we value the equipment that we’ve given,” one of the officials said.
The change in valuation could delay President Biden’s need to ask Congress to authorize additional aid to Ukraine as debt ceiling negotiations continue. Since August 2021, the United States has provided roughly $21.1 billion in military aid to the country.
Sullivan was asked about the error and what it could mean by CNN host Jake Tapper in an interview on Sunday. “There was this very bizarre admission from the Pentagon this week of an accounting error that suggested that the U.S. $3 billion that it didn’t know it has, that it can use, for Ukraine aid. That’s a hell of an accounting error,” Tapper said.
When asked if he was concerned about the error, Sullivan said no and presented the mishap as a positive. “Well one thing I just wanna make clear, that is not money that just went out the door and disappeared, that is not a waste of that 3-billion-dollars,” Sullivan said. “It is simply a tally of how much military equipment we have given them.”
“And the way that the Pentagon was counting it was, ‘what’s the replacement cost for the equipment we provide,’ rather than just the actual cost of that equipment. Once you make that adjustment, it turns out that we have an additional 3-billion-dollars that we can spend to provide even more weapons to Ukraine,” he continued.