December 28, 2023

Pentagon Announces More Ukraine Aid Without Congressional Approval

The Pentagon announced on Wednesday its intention to furnish Ukraine with weaponry valued at $250 million, constituting the final tranche of military aid unless Congress takes action in the new year.

The Biden administration's commitment includes surface-to-air missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, HIMARS rockets, 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds, TOW missiles, Javelin and AT-4 anti-tank systems, and over 15 million rounds of small arms ammunition, as detailed by the Department of Defense.

This security assistance package is contingent on legislative action on a supplemental spending request that has been pending before lawmakers for months, as stated by the White House earlier this month.

The National Security Council's spokesperson, John Kirby, emphasized the need for Congress to act promptly, noting that the administration plans one more aid package later in the month, but after that, there will be no further replenishment authority available.

The latest aid package draws from existing U.S. stockpiles, as indicated in a Dec. 18 letter from the Pentagon's comptroller, Undersecretary of Defense Michael McCord, to lawmakers.

McCord emphasized that this drawdown from Defense Department stockpiles, totaling about $1.1 billion, will be the last one for Ukraine to protect U.S. military readiness.

Once these funds are obligated, the Department will have exhausted its available funding for security assistance to Ukraine.

This announcement marks the 54th tranche of equipment sent from Pentagon inventories to Kyiv since August 2021.

President Biden had requested $61.4 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine in October, but support for this aid has been waning on Capitol Hill.

Republican senators are attempting to link Ukraine aid to changes in U.S. immigration laws, but negotiations during the holiday break failed to yield an agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer emphasized the diligent work during the December and January break to reach an agreement, with the House and Senate scheduled to return the week of Jan. 8.

Congress has already approved approximately $111 billion in assistance for Ukraine, including $67 billion in military funding, since Russia's invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

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