US says ‘out of money’ for Ukraine

The US government has exhausted its funds for military assistance to Ukraine, Pentagon spokesman Major General Patrick Ryder has said, adding that Washington is simply “out of money” unless lawmakers pass a new aid package.

Speaking to reporters at a Friday briefing, Ryder explained that while the Pentagon is authorized to spend another $4.2 billion on weapons for Ukraine, the actual funds are not available and must be set aside by Congress.

“We have the authority to spend that [$4.2 billion] from available funds but wouldn’t have the ability to replenish the stocks by taking money out – or taking stuff out of our inventory,” the spokesman said, adding “We’re out of money.”

The admission came after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that his country had no “plan B” without American military aid, reiterating demands for new combat drones, long-range missiles and air defense capabilities, among other gear.

Kuleba also noted growing political divisions In the US regarding Ukraine, as a vocal group of Republican critics have blocked the passage of additional aid funds while demanding sweeping immigration reforms. Though the party backed dozens of separate aid packages following the escalation of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, some GOP members have soured on the American largesse in recent months, creating a widening partisan divide on the issue.

While President Joe Biden has urged lawmakers to pass a massive aid package including some $61 billion for Kiev, Congress has remained deadlocked for weeks amid Republican opposition, though independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema has said lawmakers are “closing in” on a deal.

Nonetheless, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Thursday to expect decreases in US aid in the future, voicing hopes to eventually help Ukraine “build its own military industrial base so it can both finance and build and acquire munitions on its own”.

The United States has authorized nearly $45 billion in direct military assistance to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia escalated in early 2022, in addition to other indirect military aid and financial and humanitarian assistance. Moscow has repeatedly condemned Western arms shipments to Kiev, arguing they would only prolong the fighting and do little to deter its military aims.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU is considering alternative ways to keep funding Ukraine, in case member states fail to bypass a veto by Hungary.

Budapest earlier blocked a €50 billion ($55 billion) assistance package for Kiev amid the conflict with Russia.

Von der Leyen stressed that the EU must “urgently move forward on stabilizing our financial aid” to Ukraine.

Reaching a consensus between all 27 member states is the “first priority… But of course we must prepare for other options. These are operational solutions that we are preparing right now,” she said, without giving details.

Von der Leyen recalled that just before Christmas, the EU adopted an €18 billion ($20 billion) support package for Kiev, to help “Ukraine finance their needs for the beginning of this year” and give Brussels some leeway when negotiating the main funding package.

“But of course we have to work as hard and as fast as possible to deliver,” the top official added.

The Financial Times reported late last month that the EU was working on a mechanism to bypass the Hungarian veto, that would see member states provide guarantees to the EU budget, thereby allowing Brussels to borrow some €20 billion for Kiev.

An EU special summit on funding Ukraine will take place on February 1. Since the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev in February 2022, the EU has provided Ukraine with more than $91 billion in various forms of aid. Russia has repeatedly denounced arms shipments to Kiev, while warning that continued support is becoming a serious burden for EU taxpayers.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has published statistics detailing the aid supplied to Ukraine from abroad during the conflict with Russia. According to its figures, Kiev’s foreign backers together have spent more than $203 billion on assisting the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Some 54 countries have been providing assistance to the Ukrainian forces amid the fighting with Russia, the ministry said on Thursday.

More than 500 US and NATO spacecraft are working for the needs of Kiev. Those include 70 military surveillance satellites, while the rest are commercial but of double use, the ministry claimed in a post on Telegram.

Ukrainian troops are also relying on more than 20,000 Starlink terminals from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, according to the figures.

Kiev has been supplied with more than 1,600 units of missile and artillery equipment, over 200 air defense systems, some 5,220 tanks and armored vehicles, and more than 23,000 drones, the ministry added.

The Russian military’s estimates also claim that over 13,500 foreign mercenaries came to Ukraine to fight for Kiev. Among these were some 8,500 Europeans and over 2,700 from North and South America, while the rest traveled from Asia and Africa, it noted.

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