Wednesday, February 21, 2024

White House confirms US ‘out of money’ for Ukraine

The White House has made an urgent appeal to American lawmakers to approve additional aid for Ukraine, saying the country is “nearly out of time” as US agencies spend the last remaining funds from previous security packages.

In a letter addressed to congressional leaders on Monday, the head of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Shalanda Young, claimed that past US aid had resulted in “significant military victories” for Ukraine and went on to urge for more.

“I want to be clear: without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from US military stocks,” she continued, adding, “There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money – and nearly out of time.”

“Cutting off the flow of US weapons and equipment will kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield, not only putting at risk the gains Ukraine has made, but increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories.”

Young went on to note that, as of mid-November, the Pentagon had spent 97% of the $62.3 billion it received for Ukraine this year, while the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) had used up all of the funds allocated.

The official also warned that Ukraine’s economy could implode without continued US assistance, saying Kiev “will not be able to keep fighting, full stop,” in the event of a severe downturn.

Though Washington has devoted more than $110 billion in various types of aid to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia escalated in February 2022, US lawmakers are currently wrangling over another round of assistance.

President Joe Biden has requested a massive spending package worth $106 billion to fund several priorities of his administration, including military aid to Ukraine and Israel. However, the White House faces opposition from a growing number of Republicans who have become increasingly skeptical about US support for Kiev, with GOP members in the House favoring standalone aid to Israel alone.

While Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell noted his party is “still at the table” with opponents over future Ukraine spending, House Speaker Mike Johnson has said that Republicans in the lower chamber would only approve more aid to Kiev if Democrats agreed to various changes to US immigration policy. Johnson also cited “legitimate concerns about the lack of a clear strategy in Ukraine,” stressing the need to ensure “accountability for aid provided by American taxpayers.”

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