U.S. military personnel are now on the ground in Ukraine, keeping track of and inspecting weapons the U.S. has shipped to Ukrainian forces, a senior defense official announced during a Pentagon background briefing on Monday. These U.S. personnel are some of the first the Pentagon has acknowledged have entered Ukraine since Russia launched its large scale invasion of the country in February.
The senior defense official who spoke on background during an official Pentagon event, said, “U.S. personnel have recently resumed on-site inspections to assess weapon stocks in country whenever and wherever the security conditions allow.” The official said “the return of our defense attaché and Office of Defense Cooperation personnel in country has allowed us to resume this critical function.”
The Biden administration ordered U.S. troops out of Ukraine in February just days before Russia launched its invasion. The Associated Press reported the administration did return some troops to provide security at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv earlier this year.
The defense official said “there have been several of these inspections” but didn’t specify when they began. The defense official’s comments come after the U.S. State Department announced a plan to prevent U.S. and western-provided weaponry from ending up on the black market or be captured by pro-Russian forces who could use them to “develop countermeasures, propaganda, or to conduct false-flag operations.”
The defense official said “the U.S. embassy has found the Ukrainians to be very transparent and able to support inspections” thus far.