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11 Apr, 2024 04:33

Pentagon warns US could miss Ukraine ‘pay off’

Kiev urgently needs more aid to “prevent Russian success,” US military officials have claimed
Pentagon warns US could miss Ukraine ‘pay off’

Washington must double down on funding Kiev’s war effort against Moscow, to ensure that billions of dollars in previous “investments” do not go to waste, the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, Celeste Wallander, has claimed.

The US has provided Ukraine with over $113 billion in various forms of assistance since the start of hostilities in February 2022, including more than $62 billion in military aid funneled through the Pentagon. However, more funds are urgently needed to protect this investment, Wallander told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.  

“What we need right now to prevent Russian success and Ukrainian defeat is passage of the supplemental,” she said, urging Congress to approve President Joe Biden’s aid package which would earmark another $60 billion for Kiev.

None of that work that we’ve done for two years in investing in Ukraine’s future will pay off, unless we get them through the next few months.

President Biden has been urging lawmakers for months to approve his new aid package, but many Republicans have opposed the measure, demanding more efforts to strengthen US border security, while seeking more accountability for the aid already transferred to Kiev – demanding concrete answers on what the United States’ end goal in Ukraine is.

Ukraine has also received at least $190 billion in military and financial aid from EU institutions and individual members, as well as other donor states, according to Kiel Institute data.

Washington is working with the EU and other NATO partners to get to a longer-term solution “that is well underway,” Wallander claimed. However, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) General Christopher Cavoli argued at the hearing that new US aid is “critical at this moment,” until Ukraine's other sponsors boost their production of crucial items including artillery shells. 

Without a new cash injection from Washington, Kiev will “lose the war,” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky admitted this week. Meanwhile US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pitched the aid as a way to provide jobs for American workers in the military industry, arguing that more than $50 billion in the “national security supplemental” funding would end up spread across at least 30 American states.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned last month that the Ukrainian military was running out of guns and ammunition, rather than cash, calling on bloc members to mobilize their reserves and provide Ukraine with everything that it needs to continue the fight. 

The Kremlin has repeatedly warned that the ever-growing involvement of Western countries in the Ukraine conflict could result in an all-out confrontation between NATO and Russia. Moscow also insists that weapons deliveries will not change the outcome of the conflict but merely prolong them. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed claims that Russia won’t stop after reaching its goals in Ukraine and could attack NATO next as “utter nonsense” designed to “beat the money out” of the populations of Western countries.