By: Micaela Burrow, Daily Caller News Foundation
The Pentagon still has billions remaining for military assistance to Ukraine after Congress’ stopgap government funding bill omitted any provisions for aid, but concerns remain about the Pentagon’s ability to replenish U.S. stocks, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing Pentagon officials.
Officials said they were not sure how much longer the funding would last, but that the $5.2 billion remaining for drawing down from U.S. weapons stockpiles loosely reflects the amount sent over the past six months, according to the WSJ. However, an account that provides for replenishment of U.S. stocks has just $1.6 billion left, and officials are concerned it will run out before Congress appropriates more funds.
A separate pot of funding that allows the U.S. to order new equipment from industry for Ukraine, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, is empty, the officials told the WSJ.
The Biden administration has devoted a total of $43.9 billion to help Ukraine fight off Russian forces since the invasion in February 2022. The funds remaining are about 12% of that total, which appears to be a significant amount, according to the WSJ.
But aid packages have typically come every two weeks. One more is expected later this week, a U.S. official told Politico.
“There is [a] strong, very strong international coalition behind Ukraine. And if [Russian President Vladimir] Putin thinks he can outlast us, he’s wrong. He’s wrong. And so we will have another package of aid for Ukraine soon to signal our continued support for the brave people of Ukraine,” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said at a Monday press briefing.
President Joe Biden signed a stopgap spending bill on Saturday to avert a government shutdown after the fiscal year ended, but the bill didn’t include any additional funding for Ukraine. Congress has not passed spending legislation for fiscal year 2024, and it’s unclear when the spending bills will reaching Biden’s desk.
Biden has sought an additional $24 billion in Ukraine spending.
For now, concern about maintaining security assistance to Ukraine in the short term has not reached crisis levels, according to the WSJ. U.S. officials say they’re more worried about the signals the stopgap bill sends to Ukraine, U.S. allies and the Kremlin that American support could wane or disappear entirely.
But the Biden administration is not to the point of changing its expectations for long-term support even as the anti-interventionist right notched a temporary win in cutting Ukraine funding, the WSJ reported.
“Nobody is hitting the panic button over here,” one U.S. official told the WSJ.
Officials in Kyiv also downplayed the situation, the WSJ reported.
“We are now working with both sides of Congress so that it does not happen again under any circumstances,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday, according to the WSJ. “Therefore, we do not believe that U.S. support has faltered.”
DOD did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.