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Is there more that the US can do to assist Ukraine?
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Is there more that the US can do to assist Ukraine?

As the Ukrainian military faces challenges in repelling Russia’s invasion due to limited resources of rockets and other weaponry, certain advocates are suggesting that the Biden administration has the ability to provide them with additional arms without relying on delayed approval from Congress.

The government’s plea for an additional $61.4 billion in military aid is currently embroiled in a political dispute within Congress. Republican lawmakers have connected the request to their desire for strict measures to be implemented for migrants and refugees at the United States’ southern border.

However, certain supporters of Ukraine note that the government still has existing authorization to send $4.2 billion worth of weapons from its own reserves to Ukraine.

The caveat: In the absence of a new bill being approved by Congress, there will be no funds available to replenish the American stockpile. This raises concerns about the readiness of the U.S. military and its capability to handle a crisis in another location, such as Taiwan.

Mark Cancian, a former defense specialist at the Office of Management and Budget, informed Bloomberg that the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which was approved by Congress in December 2022, does not have a legal obligation to replace equipment that is sent to allies.

According to his suggestion, it is theoretically possible for the Department of Defense to provide weapons and munitions to Ukraine without needing additional funds.

Critics argue that investing money in the United States would be a more wise decision.

The Pentagon’s spokesperson, Pat Ryder, stated that the U.S. military is aware of the urgency of Ukraine’s requirements and is collaborating with Congress to obtain approval for additional funding.

“Although we do possess the authority to access $4.2 billion, we do not currently have the necessary funds to replenish our reserves in the event of their depletion,” he stated during a briefing earlier this month. “Without a clear timeline, we are forced to make difficult choices.”

Some individuals who disagree with President Joe Biden’s proposal to provide an additional $61.4 billion in funding, which would also support Israel and Taiwan, claim that the funds could be put to better use domestically. They believe that the government’s top priority should be protecting the border with Mexico, as there has been a significant influx of asylum-seekers entering the country illegally.

They have also called for greater transparency and accountability concerning the $111 billion in weapons, equipment, humanitarian assistance and other aid that has already been sent to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion almost two years ago.

Some argue that reducing the supply in the US is worth it.

Although some proponents of Ukraine argue against it, they believe that the consequences of Russia gaining an advantage on the battlefield due to supply shortages outweigh the potential risks of temporarily reducing the U.S. stockpile.

Scott Cullinane, director of government relations at Razom, a Ukrainian diaspora organization in the U.S., stated that currently, the biggest concern is the potential for Russian President Vladimir Putin to achieve victories on the battlefield, resulting in more casualties among Ukrainian civilians and potentially gaining ground on the front lines.

According to Cullinane’s statement to VOA Ukrainian, he thinks that withholding military assistance conveys a sense of American vulnerability.

He stated that this could cause uncertainty for our Ukrainian allies about the commitment of the U.S. to support them, and also gives Putin an opportunity to believe that he can defeat us by continuing the war.

Alexander Vindman, a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and former director of European affairs at the National Security Council, does not agree with the idea that reducing the U.S. weapons stockpile poses a significant risk.

According to Ukrainian-born Vindman in an interview, the truth is that the conventional Republican supporters of military intervention will persist in funding the United States’ defense.

“They will not be willing to gamble with the security of the United States, especially if it goes against the outdated notion that the Republican Party prioritizes and supports defense and the military.”

According to Vindman, even if the current administration promptly delivered the $4.2 billion in weapons to Ukraine, it would only meet their battlefield requirements for a few weeks.

According to Michael Allen, a previous special assistant to the president and senior director at the National Security Council, the Biden administration is exerting pressure on Congress to approve the complete $61.4 billion request by choosing not to use its remaining authority to aid Ukraine.

“We hope that they examine the allocated funds and come to the same conclusion as the Department of Defense,” he informed VOA Ukrainian. “This is a pressing matter, so it is reassuring that the administration has clearly stated their stance.”

This article was contributed to by VOA’s Iuliia Iarmolenko and Ostap Yarysh.