Pentagon says U.S. troops on the ground in Ukraine

Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Ethan Bowser directs an MH-60S Sea Hawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 aboard expeditionary sea base USS Miguel Keith in the Pacific Ocean, Aug. 11, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Hector Carrera)
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Ethan Bowser directs an MH-60S Sea Hawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 aboard expeditionary sea base USS Miguel Keith in the Pacific Ocean, Aug. 11, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Hector Carrera)

The Pentagon says an American “defense attaché” of military personnel is on the ground in Ukraine to ensure that weaponry and ammunition supplied at U.S. taxpayer expense do not end up on the black market.

Under the command of Brig. Gen. Garrick Harmon, the military operation conducted along with Office of Defense Cooperation operating out of the U.S. Embassy in Kiev will inspect American taxpayer-funded weaponry supplied to the Ukrainians, the Defense Department said.

Several inspections already have taken place, a senior defense official said at a briefing.

The U.S. is taking “proactive steps” to prevent arms from falling into the hands of smugglers and criminals, the Pentagon said, noting there is no evidence of any equipment being diverted.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin walks with the commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission and U.S. Forces – Afghanistan, Army Gen. Scott Miller, at Resolute Support Headquarters, Kabul, Afghanistan, March 21, 2021. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

Don Bolduc, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general who is running for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, said in an interview Tuesday the boots on the ground is “a very concerning sign, because that’s how it starts.”

“Not having a plan, allowing something like this to happen, because we have weak foreign policy across the board, with our military leadership, our State Department, the B team over there in the White House, the National Security Council staff – they have absolutely no idea what they’re doing,” he said on Glenn Beck’s radio show.

Hear Bolduc’s remarks:

The senior official confirmed that U.S. personnel “have recently resumed on-site inspections to assess weapon stocks in country whenever and wherever the security conditions allow.”

“The return of our defense attaché and Office of Defense Cooperation personnel in country has allowed us to resume this critical function,” the official said.

U.S. troops officially left Ukraine in February, 10 days before Russia invaded, to avoid direct conflict with Russia.

However, the New York Times reported in July that CIA operatives have been in Ukraine to provide training and logistical support, along with “a few dozen commandos” from NATO nations.

In February, President Biden promised: “Our forces are not and will not be engaged in the conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine but to defend our NATO Allies and reassure those Allies in the east.”

A month later, the White House walked back Biden’s suggestion to U.S. troops in neighboring Poland that they were going to Ukraine.

“You’re going to see, when you’re there, and some of you have been there, you’re going to see women, young people, standing in front of a damn tank,” he said.

The White House insisted Biden was talking about seeing Ukrainians in Poland.

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