Pentagon to Supply Stopgap Funds for Weapons to Ukraine

(Bloomberg) -- The White House announced a package of $300 million in military assistance to Ukraine, the Biden administration’s latest effort to secure aid for Kyiv as Congress remains deadlocked.

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National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the assistance would aid Ukrainian troops, who were being forced to “ration” their ammunition with the war against Russia now in its third year.

“We’re already seeing the effects on the battlefield,” Sullivan said Tuesday at the White House, calling it assistance Ukraine “desperately needs” to hold the line against Russia.

The newest Ukraine security assistance package will include anti-armor and anti-aircraft weapons as well as artillery rounds, according to senior defense officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to detail the funding. The equipment announced as part of the latest aid package could arrive in Ukraine within days, according to the officials.

The Pentagon is able to fulfill the presidential drawdown package because of contract savings on weapons bought to replenish those sent to Ukraine from existing stocks, the defense officials said. The US Army, in particular, was able to negotiate better contracts and prices for 155mm ammunition, Humvees and Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, one of the senior officials said.

Even though the new drawdown package is coming together from cost savings, it doesn’t change the $10 billion deficit the Pentagon is experiencing in its funding to restock weapons sent to Ukraine, according to the defense officials. The Pentagon hasn’t received any additional funding for Ukraine in 15 months, a senior defense official said.

“We’re able to use these cost savings to make this modest amount of new security assistance available right now without impacting US military readiness,” Sullivan said. But he added it was urgent for Congress to approve further assistance.

“This ammunition will keep Ukraine’s guns firing for a period, but only a short period. It is nowhere near enough to meet Ukraine’s battlefield needs,” Sullivan said.

Republican lawmakers have failed to act on President Joe Biden’s request for additional Ukraine aid, seeking to use the funds as leverage to extract concessions on US immigration policy.The Senate has passed a $95 billion package that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel in its war against Hamas, as well as Taiwan but House Republicans are refusing to bring it to a vote.

The Pentagon has about $10 billion in immediate replenishment needs, officials have said.

The deadlock in Ukraine is “shifting the momentum” in the war in Moscow’s favor, US intelligence agencies told senators on Monday.

Moscow has made continual, incremental battlefield gains since late 2023 and benefits from uncertainties about the future of military assistance from the US and allies, the top intelligence officials told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee in their annual presentation on the biggest “worldwide threats” facing the US.

“This deadlock plays to Russia’s strategic military advantages and is increasingly shifting the momentum in Moscow’s favor,” they said.

(Updates with additional details, quotes from fifth paragraph)

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