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5 Jan, 2024 04:53

Pentagon ‘out of money’ for Ukraine

The US Congress must approve additional funds to maintain the flow of arms to Kiev, a top general has said
Pentagon ‘out of money’ for Ukraine

The US government has exhausted its funds for military assistance to Ukraine, Pentagon spokesman Major General Patrick Ryder has said, noting that Washington is simply “out of money” unless lawmakers pass a new aid package.

Speaking to reporters at a Thursday briefing, Ryder explained that while the Pentagon is authorized to spend another $4.2 billion on weapons for Ukraine, the actual funds are not available and must be set aside by Congress.

“We have the authority to spend that [$4.2 billion] from available funds but wouldn't have the ability to replenish the stocks by taking money out – or taking stuff out of our inventory,” the spokesman said, adding “We're out of money.”

The admission came after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that his country had no “plan B” without American military aid, reiterating demands for new combat drones, long-range missiles and air defense capabilities, among other gear.

Kuleba also noted growing political divisions In the US regarding Ukraine, as a vocal group of Republican critics have blocked the passage of additional aid funds while demanding sweeping immigration reforms. Though the party backed dozens of separate aid packages following the escalation of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, some GOP members have soured on the American largesse in recent months, creating a widening partisan divide on the issue.

While President Joe Biden has urged lawmakers to pass a massive aid package including some $61 billion for Kiev, Congress has remained deadlocked for weeks amid Republican opposition, though independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema has said lawmakers are “closing in” on a deal. 

Nonetheless, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Thursday to expect decreases in US aid in the future, voicing hopes to eventually help Ukraine “build its own military industrial base so it can both finance and build and acquire munitions on its own.”

The United States has authorized nearly $45 billion in direct military assistance to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia escalated in early 2022, in addition to other indirect military aid and financial and humanitarian assistance. Moscow has repeatedly condemned Western arms shipments to Kiev, arguing they would only prolong the fighting and do little to deter its military aims.