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31 Oct, 2023 18:09

Ukraine will lose without US billions – Pentagon

Lloyd Austin has urged the Senate to approve another $44 billion in military aid to Kiev
Ukraine will lose without US billions – Pentagon

If the US stops funding Ukraine, Russia will win the ongoing conflict between the two countries, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, making the case for $44 billion more in military and other aid to the government in Kiev.

“I can guarantee that, without our support, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will be successful,” Austin told the senators. “If we pull the rug out from under them now, Putin will only get stronger and he will be successful in doing what he wants to do.” 

Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken were asking the lawmakers to approve President Joe Biden’s $106 billion supplemental funding request, which has bundled the Ukraine funding with aid to Israel and Taiwan, among other things.

Of the proposed $44.4 billion for Ukraine, $12 billion would go towards buying weapons and $18 billion would be spent on replacing weapons the US has already sent Kiev.

Cybersecurity, “intelligence support” and “enhanced presence” of US troops in Europe would cost another $10.7 billion, while $3.7 billion would be spent to “expand production capacity in our industrial base,” according to Austin’s opening testimony.

Both cabinet secretaries embraced the White House’s new talking points for Ukraine aid, portraying it as a way to support the US economy by expanding industrial production and creating new jobs for Americans, though it has done neither so far. The US has already spent $43.9 billion on “security assistance” to Kiev since February 2022, by the Pentagon’s own reckoning.

Austin’s argument echoed the one made by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to congressional Democrats last month, according to a feature published in Time Magazine on Monday. If the US does not send Ukraine more aid, “we will lose,” Zelensky reportedly said.

The article also quoted Zelensky’s aides, who described him as delusional, unwilling to accept that Kiev is “out of options” and “not winning,” while issuing orders that some line commanders have begun to refuse.

Meanwhile, according to Time, even if the US and its allies could somehow supply Kiev with all the weapons and ammunition it needs, Ukraine has run out of men to use them.

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