Lawmakers are engaged in fierce negotiations over a new funding bill that could provide an additional $25 billion in assistance to Ukraine. The Pentagon has warned that without the passage of the funding bill, it will only be able to support Ukraine’s war effort for a few more weeks.
In an interview with CNN, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby expressed concerns about the impact a government shutdown could have on US aid to Kiev. He stated that while they currently have some funding to support Ukraine, the lack of a supplemental request and a shutdown would significantly affect their ability to support Ukraine’s military efforts in the coming months.
The ongoing debate over the funding bill has largely revolved around the proposed additional aid to Ukraine. The New York Times reported that some Republicans have rejected the proposal, arguing that it would complicate efforts to resolve the spending logjam. This opposition could potentially delay the legislation, with the September 30 shutdown deadline looming.
Although officials have warned about the potential impact of a government shutdown on US aid to Ukraine, the Defense Department recently stated that the current budget woes would not affect their assistance to Ukraine. Pentagon spokesperson Chris Sherwood emphasized that the military has designated US assistance to Kiev as “essential” and an “excepted activity” during a government lapse in appropriations.
Despite these assurances, concerns remain about the uncertainty surrounding the passage of the funding bill and the potential implications for Ukraine’s war effort. The US has provided billions of dollars in direct military aid to Ukraine since the escalation of the conflict with Russia in February 2022. This aid has included shipments of heavy weapons, vehicles, and munitions. The most recent deliveries featured the first round of US Abrams main battle tanks, with Kirby expressing hopes that they would have a significant impact on the battlefield.
However, Russia has consistently criticized foreign arms shipments to Ukraine, arguing that they will not deter their aims and will only prolong the conflict. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the significance of the Abrams tanks, stating that they would “burn like all the rest of them.”
As the negotiations over the funding bill continue, the future of US aid to Ukraine remains uncertain. The potential consequences of a government shutdown and the impact it may have on Ukraine’s war effort are at the forefront of these discussions. The US government must work to find a resolution to ensure continued support for Ukraine in its ongoing struggle against Russian aggression.