April 28, 2023

Manchin Questions U.S. Military Leaders on Transparency of Ukraine Assistance, Turkstream Pipeline, Turkey's Relationship with NATO

Washington, DC – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee, questioned U.S. military leaders on increasing accountability and transparency of U.S. support to Ukraine, vulnerabilities associated with Russian TurkStream pipeline energy supply for U.S. NATO allies in the Balkans and explaining Turkey’s strategic relationship with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The witnesses were General Christopher G. Cavoli, USA Commander, U.S. European Command/NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and General Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, USAF Commander, U.S. Transportation Command.

On ensuring accountability in U.S. aid to Ukraine:

“I just had the pleasure of being able to go to Ukraine and speak with President Zelenskyy, and I was with Senators Kelly and Murkowski. It was a great trip and we learned an awful lot. We talked to them directly about our main concern of transparency. For every dollar that we’re sending in, for every bullet that we’re sending, they’re making sure it’s accounted for and used properly,” Senator Manchin said in part. “I don’t want to give the naysayers, who are a minority, any credibility that we shouldn’t be sending equipment or shouldn’t be supporting or financing Ukraine. How do you feel about that?”

On disseminating accurate, meaningful information out of Ukraine:

“I truly believe we are not telling our story. With the amount of support that we and our allies are putting in, there’s always going to be a hiccup. But we haven’t built a base of how well we’re regulating, monitoring and ensuring transparency. When we were there, Zelenskyy said 10, 15 times to bring 100 people to observe what they’re doing because they’re happy to share,” Senator Manchin continued. “Tell your press people to start putting things out. We’re happy to work with them.”

On protecting the TurkStream pipeline energy supply for Balkan nations: 

“I’m concerned about our Balkan allies because they’re all tied into the TurkStream pipeline, like Europe is tied into the Nord Stream pipelines. We know exactly what Putin will do. He uses energy as a weapon. Are we doing anything to ensure they don’t get caught like our allies in Europe did?” Senator Manchin questioned.

On explaining Turkey’s relationship with NATO:

“Can you briefly comment on developments regarding Turkey’s relationship with NATO? I can’t believe that they are holding up Sweden and they made it very difficult for Finland…It makes no sense to me at all,” Senator Manchin continued.

A timeline of Senator Manchin's work to support Ukraine against Putin's invasion is available here.

A video of Senator Manchin’s questioning of the witnesses can be found here.