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Tipsheet

CBS News Scrambles to Memory-Hole Documentary Claiming Just 30% of Ukraine Aid Makes It to Front Lines

AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

A new documentary from CBS News on Putin's invasion of Ukraine sought to focus on the supposedly David versus Goliath showdown that's playing out between the people of Ukraine and Putin's war machine. But in the process, they discovered a flaw in the much bragged-about aid flowing in almost-constantly from the United States: things aren't making it where they're supposed to. And not just *some* of the U.S. aid — most of it, as is more than half.

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In fact, according to the CBS documentary that was teased on Twitter over the weekend, just 30 percent of aid makes it to the intended recipients within Ukraine — leaving 70 percent adrift in a war zone. What could go wrong?

Well, after the tweeted trailer for the documentary picked up steam online, CBS News went ahead and did what most mainstream news outlets do when they find themselves running against the preferred Democrat narrative — that is, undermining the no-questions-asked giveaway of billions in U.S. resources to Ukraine — they deleted the tweet. 

Apparently some "new information" has come to light that suggests the 30 percent figure is not accurate — but that's what CBS News reported in their documentary trailer. The question then becomes one of CBS News' research — where'd they get the 30 percent from, and why wasn't it checked against other sources?

A story posted to CBS News' website over the weekend initially was headlined "Why military aid to Ukraine doesn't always get to the front lines: 'Like 30% of it reaches its final destination'" The story was subsequently updated by Sunday and the headline was changed to "Why military aid in Ukraine may not always get to the front lines"

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But more than just the headline was changed. In the original CBS News story, it is noted that the "bulk" of foreign aid for Ukraine "make their way to the border of Poland, where U.S. and NATO allies quickly ferry it across the border and into the hands of Ukrainian officials" and "[t]hat's where U.S. oversight ends." That section highlighting the fundamental lack of accountability disappeared from the current version of the story live on CBS News' website. 

Here's the quote (emphasis added) that got CBS in trouble and sent them scrambling to memory-hole their earlier coverage :

"All of this stuff goes across the border, and then something happens, kind of like 30% of it reaches its final destination," said Jonas Ohman, founder and CEO of Blue-Yellow, a Lithuania-based organization that has been meeting with and supplying frontline units with military aid in Ukraine since the start of the conflict with Russia-backed separatists in 2014. 

"30-40%, that's my estimation," he said in April of this year.

Now, the claim is couched as more uncertain in the updated story claiming, without any new numbers given or basis for the claim that aid is making it where it's supposed to, that things have improved:

Jonas Ohman is founder and CEO of Blue-Yellow, a Lithuania-based organization that has been meeting with and supplying frontline units with non-lethal military aid in Ukraine since the start of the conflict with Russia-backed separatists in 2014. Back in April, he estimated that just "30-40%" of the supplies coming across the border reached its final destination. But he says the situation has significantly improved since then and a much larger quantity now gets where it's supposed to go.

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So what gives? Why the change, why delete the original tweet and remove the documentary from the CBS News website? Is CBS News covering for itself, or covering for the Biden administration?

The timing of the documentary release came just as President Biden is readying a new aid package for Ukraine worth about $1 billion — which is on top of the more than $8 billion in aid the United States has previously provided to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February.

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