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Lack of traceability of weapons supplied to Ukraine could be a concern for US

  With no American or Nato troops on the ground, the Joe Biden-led US administration has no way of knowing how the arms it is supplying to Ukraine are being used. It depends largely on information provided by Kyiv to keep track of its supply. This could become a headache for the US as in case of Afghanistan. The US on Wednesday, April 20, sent another batch of combat aid to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia. Just a week after US President Joe Biden announced an $800 million military aid package for Ukraine, the Pentagon said that it has sent a batch of fighter aircraft to Kyiv. WESTERN AID TO UKRAINE The White House said, since the time when Biden assumed Presidency, the US has provided a total of $3.2 billion to Ukraine and has deployed more than 1,00,000 troops to countries that are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. It has also sent $2.6 billion in security assistance. The US is the largest supplier to Ukraine among all the 30 nations that are providing arms and ammunition amid the Russian invasion. But for all its aid and weapons supply to Ukraine, the Biden administration has no way to track the use of the anti-tank, anti-aircraft, and other weaponry it has sent to help President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his fight against Russia. According to CNN, this is due to a lack of US boots on the ground in the country and the easy portability of many of the smaller systems, like Javelins, now being sent by the US.The US has supplied Kyiv with Stinger anti-aircraft systems, Javelin anti-armour systems, Switchblade drones, air surveillance radars, Mi17 helicopters, 155mm Howitzers, etc. According to the Ukrainian Army, US Javelins, "causes panic" among Russian troops. US aid for Ukraine also includes a wide range of military equipment, ranging from 25,000 sets each of body armour and helmets to rifles and grenade launchers, thousands of other anti-tank weapons and more than 20 million rounds of ammunition. A CALCULATED RISK However, is the Biden administration to worried about the lack of traceability of the weapons it is supplying to Ukraine? The answer may not be that simple. In the short run, the US sees the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of equipment to be vital to the Ukrainians' ability to hold off Moscow's invasion. But in the long run, the lack of traceability could mean that some of these weapons may end up in the hands of other militaries and mercenaries that the US did not intend to arm. "We have fidelity for a short time, but when it enters the fog of war, we have almost zero," said a source briefed on US intelligence. "It drops into a big black hole, and you have almost no sense of it at all after a short period." A defence official said that when the US started supplying military aid to Ukraine, it took a calculated risk of the shipments ending up in the wrong hands. After all the weaponry that has been pumped in for Kyiv’s aid, a failure to adequately arm Ukraine against Russia could become a greater threat.With no boot on the ground, the US and Nato are mostly dependent on Ukraine's government for battle information. Officials feel that Ukraine sees an incentive to provide information that would only boost their case for more aid, more arms, and more diplomatic assistance. "It's a war — everything they do and say publicly is designed to help them win the war. Every public statement is an information operation, every interview, every Zelenskyy appearance broadcast is an information operation," said another source familiar with western intelligence. "It doesn't mean they're wrong to do it in any way." For months, the US and western officials have put out details of what the West knows about the status of Russian forces inside Ukraine, such as how many casualties they've taken, their remaining combat power, their weapons stocks, what kinds of munitions they are using and where. INFORMATION GAPS But the West has large information gaps when it comes to the activities of the Ukrainian forces. According to at least two sources familiar with US and western intelligence development, even estimates of Ukrainian casualties are unclear. While the Biden administration and the Nato are providing assistance to Kyiv based on what Ukrainian forces claim they need, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has continued to accuse Europe, particularly Germany and Hungary, of continuing to boost Russia’s economy by buying oil.
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