Tuesday 3 October 2023

Congress Sent U.S. Munitions To Ukraine — Now Pentagon Is Warning That Funds Are Too Low To Replace Them

 Congressional leaders received a letter of concern on Friday from Pentagon officials who warned that funding to support Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia is running low.

Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord told House and Senate leaders in the letter that approximately $1.6 billion remains left out of the $25.9 billion in weapons funding for Ukrainian forces. Additionally, McCord said the U.S. has about $5.4 billion left to supply weapons and equipment from its stockpiles.

“We have already been forced to slow down the replenishment of our own forces to hedge against an uncertain funding future,” McCord said in the letter. “Failure to replenish our military services on a timely basis could harm our military’s readiness.”

Without additional funding, the U.S. would have to halt sending equipment that is “critical and urgent now as Russia prepares to conduct a winter offensive.”

The letter comes amid Congress passing a stopgap spending measure over the weekend to prevent a government shutdown for 45 days that avoids sending additional aid to Ukraine, which a chorus of Republicans in the House and Senate strongly oppose including in any spending packages.

A group of other Republicans, led by Sen. JD Vance and Texas Rep. Chip Roy, sent a letter to Shalanda Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, arguing that the American people “deserve to know” how further aid to Ukraine is spent.

“The American people deserve to know what their money has gone to. How is the counteroffensive going? Are the Ukrainians any closer to victory than they were 6 months ago? What is our strategy, and what is the president’s exit plan? What does the administration define as victory in Ukraine?” the letter asked. “It would be an absurd abdication of congressional responsibility to grant this request without knowing the answers to these questions.”

Since the full-scale war erupted in February 2022, the U.S. has sent Ukraine more than $44 billion on security assistance to meet Ukraine’s critical security and defense needs.

President Joe Biden asked Congress last month to approve an additional $24 billion package to Ukraine for military aid and economic, humanitarian, and security assistance for other countries impacted by the war.

Biden reportedly said on Sunday that the aid would continue flowing to Ukraine while acknowledging time is of the essence.

“We cannot under any circumstances allow America’s support for Ukraine to be interrupted,” Biden said. “We have time, not much time, and there’s an overwhelming sense of urgency.”

Sources for Bloomberg reportedly told the outlet that Biden plans on contacting allies to reassure them that Ukrainian support would continue as he publicly announced he expects House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to “keep his word” about securing passage of support for the Eastern European nation, despite many American citizens battling high prices in the homeland while the U.S.-Mexico border experiences record high illegal crossings.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that another support package for Ukraine would be announced “soon” that is enough to meet Ukraine’s “urgent battlefield needs for a bit longer.”

Mark Cancian, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Associated Press that Ukrainian resistance against Russian forces could begin to weaken if the support from the U.S. stops.

“If there’s no new money, they’re going to start feeling it by Thanksgiving,” he said.

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