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The United States continues to provide financial support for Ukraine's military despite claiming to be financially depleted.

The United States continues to provide financial support for Ukraine’s military despite claiming to be financially depleted.

The White House is exerting more pressure on Congress to pass legislation that would provide support for Ukraine’s ongoing conflict with Russia. They claim that the funding has been depleted.

However, on Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced a new military aid package of $200 million for Ukraine.

Funds are diminishing, but the revelation of additional weapons being delivered to Kyiv highlights the intricacies of financing. Has the budget been depleted? Or are there still a significant amount of billions in circulation?

It’s complicated.

Store credit …

In a letter dated November 4th, White House budget director Shalanda Young stated clearly to Congress, “We do not have enough funds to assist Ukraine in this battle. This is not a problem for the future. The time to aid a democratic Ukraine in their fight against Russian aggression is currently.”

After that, the United States has declared three additional assistance plans amounting to $475 million. This may appear inconsistent, but it is a result of the intricate methods utilized to deliver aid to Ukraine.

Two funds have been established for the provision of weapons and security assistance during the war. These are the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which utilizes existing weapons from the U.S. stockpile, and the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which finances extended weapons contracts.

All funds allocated for USAI have been exhausted. The treasury is now depleted.

The funds allocated for the PDA were found to be missing. However, the Pentagon discovered that it had overestimated the worth of the weapons it had previously supplied to Ukraine, resulting in an overcharge of $6.2 billion in the weapons account. This resulted in Ukraine having a remaining store credit of approximately $4.4 billion, which is gradually being reduced.

New PDA deals were regularly announced every few weeks. However, due to financial constraints, the most recent packages have been smaller in size, typically around $200 million or less. This is a decrease from previous packages that would often amount to $400 million to $500 million.

… but empty shelves

In principle, the Pentagon possesses sufficient supplies to provide these smaller bundles for several months. However, there is a catch: Although the credit is available, there may not be adequate inventory on the shelves of the Pentagon. Therefore, certain weapons may not be obtainable.

The budget allocated by Congress for purchasing weapons to replace those supplied to Ukraine by the U.S. has decreased to approximately $1 billion. This decrease in funding has raised concerns among the military branches that they may not be able to acquire all the necessary weapons to maintain the readiness of the U.S. military in defending the American homeland.

For instance, the 155 mm shells frequently utilized by Howitzers are among the top requested artillery ammunition by Kyiv. The demand has been exceptionally high, resulting in the Scranton Army Ammunition Plant in Pennsylvania, where the casings for the shells are manufactured, being urged to ramp up production in order to fulfill war requirements and have an ample supply for the needs of the American military.

Ukrainian servicemen fire with a French self-propelled 155 mm/52-caliber gun toward Russian positions at a front line in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 15, 2022.

On June 15, 2022, Ukrainian soldiers used a French 155 mm/52-caliber self-propelled gun to shoot at Russian positions along the front line in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas.

Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s spokesperson, stated to journalists on Thursday that the United States has the capability to supply the entire $4.4 billion worth of weapons. However, due to only a quarter of the amount being accessible for restocking, it poses a difficult decision. “We must begin to prioritize our own readiness,” he explained.

Political wrangling

The United States has provided Ukraine with a total of $111 billion in weapons, equipment, humanitarian aid, and other forms of assistance since Russian President Vladimir Putin began the invasion over 21 months ago. However, the most recent package is currently on hold.

Some politicians are losing interest in supporting funding for Ukraine due to concerns that the war is diverting resources from domestic priorities. However, the bigger issue at hand is a political conflict regarding the southern border of the United States.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, is calling on Congress to approve a financial assistance plan totaling $110 billion for Ukraine, Israel, and other important national security matters. This includes $61.4 billion specifically for Ukraine, with approximately half of the funds going towards replenishing supplies for the Department of Defense. Additionally, the package includes $14 billion for Israel to combat Hamas and $14 billion for enhancing border security in the United States. The remaining funds will be allocated towards addressing security needs in the Asia-Pacific region.

The potential for reaching a compromise is uncertain, despite Zelenskyy’s cautionary statement during a speech at the National Defense University in Washington on Monday. He stated, “If there are individuals who are motivated by unresolved matters on Capitol Hill, it only benefits Putin and his corrupt circle.”

The jobs argument

Returning to the concept of “all politics is local,” the Pentagon and the White House have presented maps and data to demonstrate to members of Congress the advantages their individual districts and states are receiving from the aid provided to Ukraine.

The charts reveal a total of $10 billion worth of contracts in the defense industry, covering various weapons such as air defense systems, missiles, drones, and ammunition. Additionally, there are additional contracts worth $16.8 billion to restock the Pentagon’s supplies.

The maps illustrate agreements that are advantageous to businesses and industries in over 35 states. American officials are aiming to garner support for the funding by highlighting the potential for job creation in local communities.

What is the magnitude of the demand?

As winter has begun, the conflict in Ukraine has decreased in intensity. In certain areas of the front lines, the fighting has reached a stalemate.

However, Ukrainian forces have successfully regained control in certain important areas, and President Zelenskyy and other leaders have expressed their desire to continue advancing. Ukraine is determined not to allow the Russians to have weeks or months during the winter to regroup and strengthen their positions, as they did during the previous winter.

President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hold a news conference in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus, Dec. 12, 2023, in Washington.

On December 12, 2023, President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a press conference at the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus in Washington.

While in Washington this week, Zelenskyy reported that his troops are advancing and the White House shared declassified information revealing that Ukraine has caused significant damage to Russia in recent clashes near Avdiivka, resulting in 13,000 casualties and the loss of over 220 combat vehicles. The contested area in Ukraine’s partially occupied eastern region has been a major site of intense fighting in recent times.

On Thursday, Putin stated that his soldiers are experiencing progress.

He stated that our troops are actively working to improve their positions along the line of contact. There is a noticeable improvement in our troops’ positions overall.