The allocation of aid to Ukraine is still uncertain as Congress approaches its recess period.
As Congress gets ready to take a break for the holidays, it is uncertain if a new aid plan for Ukraine will be finalized before lawmakers depart from Washington. This has raised concerns among experts about the Ukrainian military’s ability to withstand Russia’s invasion.
The United States has allocated over $100 billion towards equipping and assisting Ukraine in response to Russia’s complete invasion in February 2022. President Joe Biden has requested an additional $60 billion from Congress for this purpose. However, Republican members of Congress have grown more doubtful about the necessity of continuing to financially support Ukraine’s defense.
In the past few weeks, Senate Republicans have made it a requirement to strengthen immigration regulations before approving any extra funds for Ukraine. These rules are intended to decrease the number of individuals entering the United States through its southern border and deport some who are currently in the country.
Currently, the attention is on discussions taking place in the Senate. A small group of legislators from opposing parties, along with members of the Biden administration, are working to reach a consensus that will garner sufficient support from both sides and safeguard it from potential roadblocks in the legislative process.
House wants more
It is uncertain if a Senate-approved agreement would be approved by the House of Representatives, where the Republican party has a small majority. Many Republican representatives are against providing further assistance to Ukraine, and the party has recently removed a speaker who worked with Democrats to pass laws.
Mike Johnson, the current House Speaker who replaced Kevin McCarthy, believes that additional funding for the border is necessary for any assistance package for Ukraine. He also desires stricter requirements to be imposed on the aid.
This week, he stated that the Biden administration appears to be requesting billions of extra funds without proper supervision, lacking a definitive plan for success, and lacking the necessary answers that the American public deserves to know.
When directly questioned by VOA about the possibility of passing a Ukraine aid package before the end of the year, Republican lawmakers expressed doubt.
“Representative Michael Lawler confirmed on Thursday that negotiations and discussions are still in progress. However, our departure is scheduled for tomorrow. Therefore, the answer is currently no.”
The EU’s assistance has been halted, while Putin celebrates.
Concerns grew on Friday about the ongoing financial assistance from the United States to Ukraine, as another crucial source of support was terminated. The European Union has proposed a $52 billion aid package for Ukraine, but Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán blocked the plan with his veto.
The vote by Orbán occurred one day following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s public celebration of the apparent decline of support for Ukraine in the Western world.
According to The Associated Press, a speaker stated that Ukraine currently has a very low production rate and relies heavily on imports. They are making efforts to maintain what they already have, but they do not contribute much themselves. However, this dependence on free goods may not last forever and it seems to be gradually decreasing.
Although critics of assistance to Ukraine frequently criticize it as an unrestricted amount of funds given to the Ukrainian government, the majority of the aid consists of military equipment. The monetary amounts in the aid packages primarily reflect the cost of purchasing weapons from American manufacturers, which are then sent to Ukraine.
It is highly likely that Ukraine would face negative consequences on the battlefield if there is a delay in receiving more funding from the U.S. However, experts have varying opinions on when these effects would start to show.
According to Nicholas Lokker, a research associate at the Center for a New American Security, there is enough money left in the presidential drawdown authority for the Biden administration to send weapons to Ukraine for several more weeks, possibly into January. However, once January arrives, the available funds will begin to deplete.
Lokker stated that Ukraine is currently facing a lack of artillery shells and air defense munitions. He also mentioned that if aid from the U.S. is cut off or significantly delayed, it would worsen the existing shortages.
Giving Russia time
According to Gian Gentile, a former colonel in the U.S. Army who currently works as a senior historian at the RAND Corporation, a delay in American funding may not be immediately noticeable on the battlefield and could potentially take several months to manifest.
According to Gentile, a substantial postponement or decrease in U.S. assistance could greatly affect the course of the conflict.
According to VOA, if there is a significant delay in the conflict in Ukraine and they are forced to reduce their use of artillery and adopt a completely defensive stance, this gives Russia the opportunity to gain more time and space. This is because if Ukraine is experiencing fewer casualties, it allows Russia to focus on training, rebuilding, and preparing for another attack.
The issue is worsened by the reality that Russia has shifted to a war-based economy, utilizing a considerable portion of its productive resources to produce weapons and other military assets, following two years of conflict.
According to Gentile, this delay is particularly inconvenient due to the current circumstances in Russia, where there is a rise in production, even though it may only be for a brief period of time.