US announces another $300m aid for Ukraine

The White House announced on Tuesday that the Pentagon plans to expedite approximately $300 million aid worth of weaponry to Ukraine by uncovering some cost savings within its contracts. Despite facing significant financial strain, with a deficit of at least $10 billion required to replenish the weapons already dispatched to aid Kyiv in its dire struggle against Russia, this move marks the Pentagon’s first security assistance package for Ukraine since December. Recent revelations indicate that not only are replenishment funds depleted, but the Pentagon is also operating with a deficit of $10 billion.

This decision arises amidst Ukraine’s critical shortage of munitions and the stalled efforts to secure additional funds for weaponry in Congress, primarily due to opposition from Republicans. The US administration has maintained that resuming weapon deliveries hinges on Congress providing the necessary replenishment funds, a component of the stalled supplemental spending bill.

These replenishment funds have facilitated the withdrawal of existing munitions, air defense systems, and other armaments from reserve inventories under presidential drawdown authority to aid Ukraine. The announcement of $300 million in extra aid comes at a crucial time when Ukraine’s ammunition supplies are dangerously low.

Furthermore, the Pentagon has a separate initiative, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), enabling it to finance long-term contracts with industry for producing new weapons for Ukraine. Senior defense officials revealed that cost savings of approximately $300 million were achieved in some of these long-term contracts, prompting the decision to allocate these savings to bolster weapon shipments to Ukraine.

However, officials stressed that this allocation is a one-time measure unless the supplemental spending bill, which includes around $60 billion in military aid for Ukraine, is passed, or further cost savings are identified. The aid package is anticipated to comprise anti-aircraft missiles, artillery rounds, and armor systems.

This announcement coincides with Polish leaders’ visit to Washington, urging the US to resolve the deadlock over replenishing funds for Ukraine amid a critical phase of the conflict. The Ukrainian situation grows increasingly dire, with frontline units rationing munitions while confronting a better-equipped Russian force. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has persistently appealed to Congress for assistance, but House Republican leadership has hesitated to bring the Ukraine aid package to a vote, insisting on addressing border security needs first.

Pentagon officials have indicated their reliance on the supplemental bill to cover the $10 billion replenishment deficit. This marks the second instance within nine months that the Pentagon has reallocated funds for additional weapon shipments to Ukraine, following a similar move in June when it was revealed that the value of weapons sent to Ukraine had been overestimated by $6.2 billion over two years.

Since the onset of the Biden administration, the United States has committed over $44.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including more than $44.2 billion since Russia’s invasion began on February 24, 2022.

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