If the US Congress fails to reach a consensus on a new budget bill in the near future, the Pentagon may run out of money to support Ukraine in the war with Russia, US media reported.
Politico cited documents and Pentagon officials as saying that the US Department of Defense’s budget cuts could affect Washington’s military aid to Ukraine.
December 16 is the deadline for the US Congress to approve the interim spending bill (CR) and Democrats and Republicans are discussing the budget issue. According to Politico, CR is expected to cut the Pentagon’s budget by $29 billion, or 3.7% of the White House’s proposal for the fiscal year 2023. This means that the US Department of Defense will have to temporarily halt important projects, including aid to Kiev during the conflict with Russia.
On December 3, Michael McCord, the Pentagon’s chief financial officer, acknowledged that the US would have a hard time sending new weapons to Ukraine because funds set aside for aid to Kiev are expected to run out by spring.
“The US is helping Ukraine the most. If Kyiv runs out of ammunition, it will be at a disadvantage,” he warned.
According to Politico, the budget cuts will delay the project to improve some heavy weapons systems, such as the M777 howitzer that is being supplied to the Ukrainian army by the US.
The announcement came after Pentagon officials warned Congress that the reduction in the defense budget would further harm the United States due to high inflation rates.
“What’s special about this year is that inflation is high and unpredictable, and CR is basing the defense budget on the previous year’s figure, before prices rose,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said in mid-year. identify.
On the other hand, in November, CNN quoted three unnamed US officials as saying that some of the challenges that the US is facing when it comes to military aid to Ukraine are the dwindling arsenal and the ability to meet the needs of Ukraine. needs of the defense industry. According to an official, the US has only a limited number of weapons in its stockpile that can be shipped to Ukraine.
The source said Washington is particularly concerned about its stockpile of 155mm artillery shells and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. Some US officials are also concerned about the production capacity of weapons such as HARM missiles, GMLRS surface-to-surface missiles, and Javelin anti-tank missiles.
One of the biggest concerns is that the US defense industry is struggling to meet the sudden increase in demand for weapons, while European countries cannot fully replenish their stockpiles to replace them. military equipment sent to Ukraine. To remedy the situation, the US is increasing the production of some types of weapons.
Last month, the White House asked Congress to approve about $37.7 billion in additional humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine. If this is given the green light, it would bring the total amount of US aid pledged to Ukraine to more than $100 billion in less than a year.
Moscow has repeatedly criticized the transfer of weapons to Ukraine by the United States and its allies, warning that these moves only prolong the conflict and increase the risk of direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.