Three key U.S. senators say there have been no proven cases of American weapons sent to Ukraine being diverted to the black market, according to a first look at new CBS News reporting provided to Axios.
Why it matters: The comments from the bipartisan group of senators come as the Biden administration seeks $24 billion in new aid for Ukraine — and as some Republicans grow increasingly wary of providing the war-torn country with more assistance.
The new report will also air just days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Washington to urge lawmakers to approve the additional funding.
Driving the news: This Sunday on “60 Minutes,” CBS News foreign correspondent Holly Williams tracks U.S. weapons and funds sent to Ukraine as Russia’s assault drags on.
Williams interviews Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) from Kyiv.
“The senators — and other U.S. officials — told us there have been no substantiated cases of American weapons being diverted,” Williams says in the report, according to an excerpt provided to Axios.
The big picture: The three senators play an important role in overseeing U.S. defense spending. Both Warren and Blumenthal serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, while Graham sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on defense.
“We’re following every piece of equipment,” Blumenthal tells CBS. “There has been no diversion — no evidence of misappropriation.”
“This is an American success story on aiding a partner fighting for freedom.”
Context: The new report echoes what top military officials have previously told Republicans who have questioned whether U.S. weapons sent to Ukraine have been misappropriated.
“Our assessment is if some of these systems have been diverted it’s by Russians who have captured things on the battlefield, which always happens, but that there’s no evidence the Ukrainians are diverting it to the black market,” Colin Kahl, then-undersecretary of defense for policy, told House lawmakers earlier this year.