During Tuesday night’s US Senate runoff debate in Oklahoma, Republican candidates TW Shannon, former Oklahoma House Speaker, and Markwayne Mullin, current Representative for Oklahoma’s Second Congressional District, battled it out over whether billions of dollars in aid sent to Ukraine by the US had actually reached its supposed destination.
While the two agreed on a number of topics covered by the debate, the biggest rift came in the form of a bill Mullin had supported in May, which would send $41 million in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, according to The Oklahoman.
Mullin claimed that “not one penny actually went directly to Ukraine,” and that this fact would be clear to anyone that read the bill.
“In fact, what it did is it replenished the munitions that we had spent, because we had been in 20 years of war on terror,” Mullin said. “And a lot of our weapons was out of date. We send them to our partners in Europe, and they sent their weapons to Ukraine.”
Shannon shot back, saying that he had in fact read the bill and that a large portion of the bill did go directly to helping Ukraine fend off Russia.
“Yeah, it is going to Ukraine and ultimately, if we’re not careful, if we’re not successful in Ukraine, well, what we’re doing is actually going to go to Vladimir Putin. That’s the bigger challenge that I think we should be prepared for,” said Shannon.
In a statement issued in May shortly after the House passed the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, he echoed the same statements.
“Last night, I voted to support funding to replace U.S. military munitions that were left critically low after our continued efforts to aid Ukraine,” Mullin said. “There’s a misunderstanding around the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act and these dollars. The facts are simple. The Ukrainian military is not trained in US weaponry. The United States has gone through our allies to supply them aid, with the agreement that our allies would pay it forward to Ukraine with Eastern weaponry that our allies have, and Ukrainian soldiers know how to use.”
“Now, it’s time to backfill our own supply and rebuild our stockpile stateside. That’s precisely what this bill does. My vote is a vote to fund the American military arsenal and to continue to support our troops and their operations in Eastern Europe. America is home to the greatest military in the world and I plan to keep it that way,” said Mullin.
While around $9 billion did in fact go towards the replenishment of US weapons stocks that had been sent to nations fighting Russia through drawdown authority, around $16 billion went towards humanitarian assistance and general support for the Ukrainian government, covering things like refugee and disaster assistance, as well as economic support for the Eastern European country, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The act also provided military support to allies in the form of training, logistical support, and equipment.
Additional funding also went towards US military operations, including sending forces to have a presence in eastern NATO countries and supporting the expansion of missile production through the Defense Production Act.
Overall, while a large portion of this May funding may have gone towards supporting US military operations, Mullin’s claims that “not one penny” went to Ukraine is unsubstantiated, with only around $10 billion going towards what he claims the entire bill went towards.
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