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14 Dec, 2023 07:38

US has only $1 billion left for Ukraine – White House

Around 96% of the authorized funds have been used up, with the rest to be spent this month, Karine Jean-Pierre has said
US has only $1 billion left for Ukraine – White House

The administration of US President Joe Biden is running out of pre-approved funds to help Ukraine in its fight with Russia, with only $1 billion left, the White House has said.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre explained that this is the amount of money remaining in the replenishment authority which allows the Pentagon to procure weapons from private contractors to replace the older equipment sent to Kiev.

“So, $1 billion is left. Approximately 96% of replenishment funding has already been used. And the Department of Defense is preparing to allocate the remaining 4% this month,” Jean-Pierre added.

When these funds run out, she noted, the US will not be able to backfill its own stocks that were sent to the battlefield in Ukraine. She added that Washington now has to reduce the amount of military aid to Kiev as its budget tightens.

In early November, after announcing another security package for Kiev, the US government said it had fully exhausted the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). Since then, the Biden administration has had to increasingly rely on the presidential drawdown authority, which allows it transfer weapons from US stocks without congressional approval in the event of an emergency.

On Tuesday, after meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Biden announced $200 million in military aid to Ukraine, including additional air defense interceptors, artillery, and ammunition. He warned, however, that without additional funding, Washington is “rapidly coming to an end of our ability to help Ukraine respond to… urgent operational demands.”

The US president has repeatedly urged Congress to approve his $106 billion supplemental funding request, which includes around $60 billion in aid for Kiev, assistance for Israel and Taiwan, as well as funds to boost security on the US-Mexico border.

Senate Republicans have been reluctant to greenlight the measure, demanding tighter immigration controls. Some GOP members have been skeptical of providing aid to Ukraine at all, with many demanding more accountability from the Biden administration.

Russia has repeatedly warned the West against providing arms to Ukraine, arguing that this will only prolong the conflict without changing the outcome, while drawing NATO countries into a direct stand-off with Moscow.