The U.S. announced last week that it will provide Ukraine with another $200 million in weapons as the war enters a new phase and countries begin to grow tired of the long war.
The latest injection is the 48th tranche of equipment provided from Defense Department stocks since August 2021—months before the Russian invasion.
The latest package will include AIM-9M missiles for air defense, counter-unmanned aerial systems, additional ammunition for HIMARS, 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds, and precision aerial munitions.
“The United States remains committed to working with Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs in the near term, and the Biden Administration calls on Congress to meet its commitment to the people of Ukraine by passing additional funding to ensure Ukraine continues to have what it needs to defend itself against Russia’s brutal war of choice,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
John Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, told reporters last week that the U.S. support for Ukraine is not indefinite, especially considering America’s interest in Taiwan and Israel.
“In the near term, we’ve got appropriations and authorities for both Ukraine and for Israel,” Kirby said. “But you don’t want to be trying to bake in long-term support when you’re at the end of the rope. And in Ukraine, on the Ukraine funding, we’re coming near to the end of the rope. Today, we announced $200 million, and we’ll keep that aid going as long as we can, but it’s not going to be indefinite.”
He told reporters that the administration is “running out of runway.”
Kirby said it will be easier to find new funding when there is a new Speaker of the House.
Last week, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., a Ukraine hawk, withdrew his name from the speaker race. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who has seemed more trepidatious about unlimited Ukraine funding, is the Republican Party’s next best hope, but he has a tough hill to climb and can only afford to lose four votes from his own party.
Germany announced last week that it will provide Ukraine with new air defense systems and the U.K. said it will send another $100 million in military equipment.
Serhiy Marchenko, Ukraine’s finance minister, admitted to reporters that he has seen a lot of tiredness and a lot of “weakness among our partners,” Reuters reported.
“They would like to forget about the war but the war is still ongoing, full-scale,” he said. He made the comments during the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings in Marrakech last week. He said Ukraine needs to make twice the effort now “to convince our partners to provide us with support compared to the last annual meetings.”
The report said Ukraine will need $43 billion this year to cover budget gaps in the economy.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seems to understand the challenges that Ukraine could face when trying to obtain more weapons from the U.S. and said there can be no “pauses” in his country’s fight against Russia.
“We have to put even more pressure so that the aggressor weakens faster and does not have time to adapt to our pressure and we need to make sure that Russia is heading for defeat and does not even attempt to claim anything else,” he said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Zelensky has reportedly asked to visit Israel in a show of solidarity.
TRENDPOST: Ukraine has, at times, been frustrated with Israel’s half-hearted support after Russia’s invasion, and Zelensky—no doubt—sees a golden opportunity to link the Ukraine War and Israel’s war together and frame it as a struggle between good and evil. Indeed, the Ukraine War pulled Russia closer to Iran. (See “WWIII: ISRAEL SAYS RUSSIA COULD PROVIDE IRAN WITH UPDATED AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS SO WINDOW ON NUKE FACILITIES COULD BE CLOSING” 7 Mar 2023, “WWIII TAKING SHAPE: NATO VS. CHINA, RUSSIA, IRAN” 21 Feb 2023, and “IRAN, RUSSIA MOVE CLOSER AND COULD BECOME ‘FULL-FLEDGED DEFENSE PARTNER’: BIDEN ADMINISTRATION” 13 Dec 2022.)
We also reported on how Ukraine believes it would benefit a great deal if Iran is somehow attacked by Israel because Tehran has been accused of providing Russia with drones and other weapons throughout the war. (See “WWIII: UKRAINE URGED WESTERN ALLIES TO BOMB DRONE-MAKING FACILITIES IN SYRIA, IRAN,” 3 Oct 2023.)
Marchenko, the finance minister, said he has seen some progress where countries are moving to unfreeze stolen Russian assets to fund the war. Belgium, which has the most frozen Russian central bank asset, will use taxes collected on the stolen assets (about $2.4 billion) to help fund Ukraine.
Janet Yellen, the U.S. Treasury head, said she supported “harnessing windfall proceeds from Russian sovereign assets immobilized in particular clearinghouses and using the funds to support Ukraine.”