McCaul Presses Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman for Answers on Support for UkrainePress Release
Washington, D.C.- House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican McCaul questioned U.S. Department of State’s Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman for answers on the Biden Administrations failure to send aid to Ukraine.
-Questions and Answers as Delivered-
Rep. McCaul: We also learned that the President had access to 250 million dollars in additional emergency lethal security assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act that could have been provided to Ukraine once a policy determination was made that Ukraine was, quote, “a victim of active aggression.” This Administration waited to make this determination until February 24th. How this Administration didn’t determine that Ukraine was a victim of active aggression months earlier as Russia amassed 190,000 troops around its border makes no sense. And now, Secretary Austin, Secretary of Defense, tells us what we have been warning for months, that it’s going to be difficult now, after the invasion, to get additional lethal aid to Ukraine as this war wages. And I agree with him. And That is precisely why I have called for sending more weapons before a Russian invasion rather than trying to get in after. And as we witness the bravery of Ukraine’s freedom fighters in the face of Russian brutality, I can’t understand why we failed to send more lethal weapons sooner, when we had the weapons in stock and the capability to get them directly in the hands of these forces that desperately needs them. So, Secretary Sherman, or the whole panel, first of all, why wasn’t this done sooner? And I know we can’t change the past, but why was this done sooner? And as we travel to Poland, what can we do to get them the weapons they desperately need?
Dep. Sec. Sherman: Thank you very much, Congressman. I will make a couple of comments and then my colleagues from the Department of Defense may want to follow up as well. We have, as you noted, committed one billion dollars in security assistance to Ukraine in the past year alone. And that has been over this entire year and since 2014 three billion dollars in security assistance. So, it is not accurate to say that we waited only until Russia attacked Ukraine to provide these lethal weapons. We have done this with your support for which we are very grateful and your concurrence and consultation. Secondly, we understand the challenges of getting weapons in, in the middle of a conflict but I can assure you, Congressman, that those weapons are getting in, even now, there are many ways we have to do this and I am in awe, always, of the Department of Defense’s ability, working with our diplomats to in fact do this. Third, on your trip to Poland, first and foremost, thank you to Poland. They are being just extraordinary, welcoming the vast majority of refugees over their border. We are now probably close to 700,000 refugees to provide humanitarian assistance, to help deliveries, as are other countries. But I want to be very careful here, this morning, Congressman, I do not want to talk about how we are doing what we are doing because I want to keep civilians, diplomats, our military and other parts of our government safe during a very, very difficult situation, but more than anything I want to thank you all – 610 million dollars’ worth of arms and equipment direct from DoD stocks under the Presidential Drawdown Authority since Aug 2021, 86 mil in Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs to assistance to Ukraine, 168 million dollars in assistance to law enforcement reform and border security, additional equipment deliveries under US excess defense articles and I must say many third party transfers that are being asked of us from countries all over Europe, including Germany which, generally, does not like to do this. So, this has been just an extraordinary effort, worldwide.