The U.S. Department of Defense has informed Congress of its depleting resources set aside for replenishing weapons previously sent to Ukraine. Michael McCord, the Pentagon’s Chief Financial Officer, revealed that of the $25.9 billion Congress had sanctioned for refilling the U.S. military inventory sent to Ukraine, only $1.6 billion remains. This inventory includes essential artillery, rockets, and missiles that Ukraine relies on for its operations against Russian advances.
McCord stressed the critical nature of the situation, noting that without prompt supplementary funds, the U.S. might need to scale back or delay its assistance to Ukraine. This is especially concerning as there are indications that Russia is planning a winter campaign. Mr. McCord wrote, “Without additional funding now, we would have to delay or curtail assistance to meet Ukraine’s urgent requirements, including for air defense and ammunition that are critical and urgent now as Russia prepares to conduct a winter offensive.”
Additionally, the U.S. has roughly $5.4 billion left in its stockpile for weapons and equipment. This fund would have been exhausted earlier if not for the Pentagon’s discovery that they had overpriced the previously shipped equipment, thereby freeing up an extra $6.2 billion. However, the long-term financial support for Ukraine, managed by the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, has been fully utilized.
McCord’s letter also shed light on the impact of this financial shortfall on U.S. military operations. The lack of funds has already led to a slowdown in resupplying U.S. troops, potentially affecting their operational readiness.
This correspondence came on the heels of Congress’s temporary funding solution to prevent a potential government shutdown. This solution did not account for military aid to Ukraine. To secure enough votes from House Republicans, the aid for Ukraine was left out of the continuing resolution. This stopgap measure will fund the federal government up to mid-November, giving Congress a brief period to pass a more comprehensive bill that will extend until September 2024.
Several Republican members have voiced their concerns about continuing financial aid to Kyiv. They believe that prioritizing billions for Ukraine, especially when the U.S. faces its own challenges, such as border security, might not resonate well with their voters.
McCord further cautioned that any delay or denial of aid could put Ukraine in a precarious position and might also inspire the Chinese Communist Party to pursue aggressive actions elsewhere in the world. He emphasized the U.S.’s pivotal role in the global alliance and the necessity for adequate resources to uphold this leadership. “Delays to additional funding would also be perceived by Ukraine as a sign of wavering U.S. support and likely as a betrayal of our previous commitments,” he said.
The White House echoed similar sentiments, indicating that only emergency provisions are currently available to cater to Ukraine’s immediate military needs. President Joe Biden has underscored the pressing need for funds for Ukraine and has sought an additional $24 billion to cover expenses for the last three months of 2023.