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Biden Administration Struggles to Secure Additional Funds for Ukraine

In a critical turn of events, the United States finds itself unable to provide much-needed ammunition and missiles to Ukraine as it grapples with Russia’s invasion.

Allies Convened For Meeting

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With the allocation of aid entangled in domestic political disputes, the Biden administration, for the first time during its tenure, presided over the monthly meeting of approximately 50 nations focused on coordinating support for Ukraine with empty hands.

This international group, established by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in April 2022, convened to discuss the dire situation facing Kyiv.

No More Funding for Ukraine

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While the Biden administration awaits approval from Congress for additional funding to aid Ukraine’s struggle, it is turning to its allies for assistance to bridge the widening gap.

Request To Step Up

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During the meeting, Defense Secretary Austin implored the international community to step up and provide Ukraine with vital ground-based air defense systems and interceptors.

Secretary Austin’s First Public Appearance Post-Surgery

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In a significant moment, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made his first public appearance since his prostate cancer surgery. Speaking via video from his home, Austin appeared slightly gaunt, having spent two weeks hospitalized due to complications from the surgery. His address underscored the urgency of the situation.

Ukraine’s Critical Shortages

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Celeste Wallander, the assistant defense secretary for international affairs, highlighted the pressing issue faced by Ukraine’s ministry of defense. Reports from the front lines reveal severe shortages of ammunition, a situation that demands swift action from Congress to pass legislation for aid.

European Allies Step In

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While the United States grapples with funding issues, European allies are taking proactive measures to support Ukraine. In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced a $1.2 billion joint contract to acquire over 222,000 rounds of 155 mm ammunition, a critical resource in the ongoing conflict.

Continued Russian Aggression

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Despite the recent focus on the conflict between Israel and XYZ, Russia’s relentless assault on Ukraine persists. On Tuesday, Russia launched more than 40 ballistic, cruise, anti-aircraft, and guided missiles into Ukraine’s largest cities, resulting in damage to apartment buildings and the loss of at least five lives.

Assault After Deal Rejection

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This assault occurred a day after Moscow rejected any deal endorsed by Kyiv and its Western allies, prolonging the almost two-year-long war.

Ukraine’s Defense Efforts

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Ukraine’s air defenses managed to intercept at least 21 of the incoming missiles, but the attacks left at least 20 people injured in four districts of Kyiv, the capital.

Last U.S. Security Assistance

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The Pentagon’s most recent security assistance for Ukraine, a $250 million package that included 155 mm rounds, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, and other critical items from existing U.S. stockpiles, was announced on December 27th. However, no additional munitions have been provided since then due to exhausted funds and pending approval from Congress.

Stalled Aid and Disagreements

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Over $110 billion in aid, intended for both Ukraine and Israel, is currently stalled due to disagreements between Congress and the White House. These disagreements encompass various policy priorities, including additional security measures for the U.S.-Mexico border.

Bipartisan Efforts and Opposition

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Senators are striving to reach a bipartisan agreement that would include nearly $61 billion in aid for Ukraine and adjustments in border policies.

Republicans Want Cuts

However, Republicans are advocating for a reduction in the aid amount, particularly targeting funding earmarked for Ukraine’s civil sector. They argue that European nations could assume responsibility for these financial needs.

Challenges in the House

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Even if a Senate deal is reached, the aid package will encounter additional opposition in the House, where many Republicans have consistently voted against supporting Ukraine’s war effort.

Total U.S. Aid to Ukraine

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To date, the United States has provided Ukraine with more than $44.2 billion in security assistance since Russia’s invasion in February 2022. Approximately $23.6 billion of this aid was drawn from existing military stockpiles, while almost $19 billion was delivered through long-term military contracts, which will take months to fulfill. Additionally, the U.S. State Department has contributed an extra $1.7 billion in the form of foreign military financing.

Ongoing Training Efforts

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Despite funding challenges, the United States and approximately 30 international partners continue to train Ukrainian forces. A total of 118,000 Ukrainians have received training at various locations worldwide, with around 18,000 of them trained by the United States, including approximately 16,300 soldiers in Germany. Presently, 1,500 additional fighters are undergoing training.

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