Ukraine War: US Releases Last Military Aid for Kyiv for Now

Ukraine War: US Releases Last Military Aid for Kyiv for Now

The White House approves a final tranche of military aid to Ukraine, but further funding is uncertain due to stalled talks in Congress.

The White House has authorized the release of $250 million in military aid to Ukraine, marking the last available funding without fresh approval from Congress. This aid package includes air defense, artillery and small arms ammunition, and anti-tank weapons. However, talks in Congress have come to a standstill, leaving the future of Western aid uncertain for Ukraine. With a stalled counter-offensive in the east and financial strains, Ukraine warns that its war effort and public finances are at risk without further assistance.

1: Political Obstacles in Congress

Despite broad support for the Ukraine war effort in the US Congress, an agreement on further military aid has been hindered by Republicans. They insist that tougher security measures on the US-Mexico border must be included in any aid deal. An emergency spending measure, which would have provided $50 billion for Ukraine and $14 billion for Israel, was recently defeated in the Senate, with every Republican voting against it. Even Bernie Sanders, an independent who typically aligns with Democrats, voted against the measure due to concerns about Israel’s conflict with Hamas. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the US failed to sway lawmakers, leaving the aid package in limbo.

2: Immediate Assistance from Existing Stocks

To address the urgent needs of Ukraine, the approved aid package will involve pulling weapons from existing Pentagon stocks. This action does not require Congressional approval. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the importance of Congress swiftly advancing national security interests by helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression. He highlighted that US assistance has been critical in supporting Ukraine’s fight for freedom.

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3: Financial Struggles and Urgent Need for Aid

Ukraine is facing a significant budget deficit of $43 billion, and officials warn that salaries and pensions for government employees may need to be delayed if further aid from Western allies does not arrive soon. The support of partners is crucial for Ukraine’s economic stability and the continuation of its war effort. Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko, who also serves as the country’s economic minister, stressed the urgent need for assistance, stating that Ukraine cannot afford to wait.

4: EU Aid Package Blocked

In addition to the challenges in Congress, Ukraine’s Western allies have also faced obstacles in providing aid. Earlier this month, Hungary blocked a €50 billion EU aid package for Ukraine. However, talks are progressing on a smaller aid package that would not require Hungary’s approval. This potential aid could be taken up in early February, offering some hope for Ukraine’s financial situation.

Conclusion:

As the war in Ukraine continues, the release of the final tranche of US military aid provides temporary relief. However, the uncertainty surrounding further funding from Congress poses a significant challenge for Ukraine’s war effort and public finances. The urgent need for assistance is evident, and Ukraine’s Western allies must act swiftly to ensure the country’s security and economic stability. As Russian forces continue to fight in the east of Ukraine, the international community’s support remains crucial in helping Ukraine defend itself against aggression and secure its future.