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12 Mar, 2024 13:51

Pentagon reveals $10 billion arms ‘hole’ due to Ukraine – media

The US Defense Department has delivered weapons to Kiev expecting future appropriations to cover replacements, a senior official has said
Pentagon reveals $10 billion arms ‘hole’ due to Ukraine – media

The Pentagon wants the US Congress to allocate $10 billion to compensate for weapons it has delivered to Ukraine and to replenish its own stocks, American media reported on Monday citing senior officials.

Unless the deficit is covered, the “ongoing hole” will put a strain on the US military itself, one source told Politico. The White House has requested over $60 billion in supplemental Ukraine assistance, but the Republican-controlled House has stonewalled repeated calls by US President Joe Biden to release the money.

The official said the “big funding piece waiting in the supplemental” needs to be approved for the US arsenal to be replenished. Otherwise “it would come back on our own readiness, on our own stockpile, to a certain extent.”

The $10 billion shortfall was created due to the differences between the listed value of weapons drawn from stockpiles and the cost of replacing them with new ones. For instance, if older munitions are sent to Ukraine, the Pentagon will replace them with a newer and more expensive version.

Politico was among the first to report the story, saying the remarks were made on condition of anonymity. Voice of America later confirmed the deficit issue, citing Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and another unnamed military official.

Last June, the Pentagon announced that it could deliver additional weapons to Ukraine, after realizing that the cost of stockpiled arms was lower than it thought. It said it was free to provide an extra $6.2 billion in aid under its existing authorization thanks to the re-evaluation.

By the end of last year, the Biden administration had provided more than $75 billion in cash and equipment for Ukraine’s war effort, by far surpassing other Western donors. The deliveries stopped after the Congress-approved money pot ran dry, the White House said in mid-January.

The anonymous source said the Pentagon still had the authority to send $4.4 billion worth of aid to Ukraine, but Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been “reluctant” to tap into that fund, according to Politico.