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U.S. Halts Weapons Stockpile Assistance To Ukraine Amid Funding Dispute

In the midst of congressional debates surrounding foreign military spending, the United States has announced that it will no longer provide weapons from its stockpile to aid Ukraine in its fight against Russian forces. The decision comes as lawmakers grapple with funding and border security issues.

Pentagon’s Announcement

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During a briefing at the Pentagon, Major General Pat Ryder, the Defense Department’s press secretary, informed reporters that a hold on additional funding for Ukraine in Congress is hindering the U.S. from meeting Ukraine’s immediate battlefield requirements.

What Ukraine Needs

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He explained that this includes critical items such as artillery rounds, anti-tank weapons, and air defense interceptors.

Ukraine Defense Contact Group’s Role

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The decision follows the monthly gathering of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, consisting of 54 nations and hosted by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

First Such Instance With No U.S. Aid

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The group has been convening since April 2022 to coordinate assistance to Ukraine. It marks the first time since its establishment that the U.S. cannot commit to providing additional ammunition and missiles to Kyiv.

Political Dispute Over Funding

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House and Senate leaders have been working to reach a bipartisan security deal that aligns with President Joe Biden’s request for more funding for Ukraine while also strengthening U.S. border enforcement.

Republicans Holding Out

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However, Republican lawmakers have withheld approval for additional foreign funding until a resolution on border security is reached.

Pentagon’s Dilemma

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Major General Ryder emphasized that, without the additional funding, the Pentagon cannot supply Ukraine with the necessary equipment to meet both immediate and long-term requirements. This affects the sustainability of systems previously provided to Ukraine.

Biden Administration’s Efforts

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He added that the Biden administration is actively engaged with Congress to expedite supplemental funding, recognizing the urgency of the situation in Ukraine.

Austin’s Call for Support

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who conducted Tuesday’s virtual meeting with international partners while recovering from prostate cancer surgery, urged members of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group to continue supporting Ukraine’s military efforts in the face of ongoing Russian aggression.

Crucial Assistance Needed

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In his opening remarks, Austin said, “Ukraine’s fight is important for all of our countries. Ukraine’s incredibly brave troops are continuing their battle against the Kremlin’s invaders across a vast front line in Ukraine’s east and south, in bitter winter weather.”

“Dig Deep”

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He continued, “So I urge this group to dig deep to provide Ukraine with more lifesaving ground-based air-defense systems and interceptors.”

Previous U.S. Support

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In late December, the Pentagon unveiled its last security package for Ukraine, amounting to $250 million. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the U.S. has provided over $44 billion in security assistance to bolster Ukraine’s military capabilities.

Composition of Aid

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Approximately $23.6 billion of the total aid came from the U.S.’s existing military stockpiles, while roughly $19 billion was allocated for long-term military contracts.

Previous Purchased Weapons Still Going To Ukraine

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Despite the current suspension of Pentagon funding, some previously purchased weapons may continue to be supplied to Ukraine.

Continued Support Through Training

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Ryder also said that the U.S. continues to support Ukraine by training their soldiers and through leadership coalitions. But, “in order for us to provide the capabilities that Ukraine needs on the battlefield today, but also in the longer term, we would really appreciate the support of Congress.”

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Malik is a skilled writer with a passion for news and current events. With their keen eye for detail, they provide insightful perspectives on the latest happenings. Stay informed and engaged!