US Warns of Sacrificing Combat Readiness as Ukraine Aid Stalls, Moscow Cautions Against Prolonging Conflict

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The Pentagon has urged Congress to approve US PResident Joe Biden’s supplemental funding package for Ukraine “as quickly as possible,” warning that its coffers are running low and it could soon be forced to sacrifice American combat readiness to continue support.

US lawmakers have been stuck in a deadlock in recent weeks over Biden’s proposed $60 billion Ukraine assistance package. Republicans have blocked the bill, demanding tougher immigration control on the US-Mexico border in exchange for letting it pass.

At a news briefing held at the Pentagon on Thursday, Defense Department spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder emphasized the importance of the president’s supplemental funding to ensure adequate support for Ukraine in the upcoming year.

Ryder believes that the Pentagon has approximately $4.4 billion in Presidential Drawdown Authority funds remaining, which enables the transfer of weapons from US stockpiles without needing congressional approval. Additionally, there is around $1 billion in stock replenishment funds available.

Ryder acknowledged that the possibility of utilizing the $4.4 billion remains on the table, but emphasized that it’s a difficult descision that requires careful consideration of its potential impact on the military’s ability to provide adequate support to Ukraine in the midst of ongoing conflict.

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This week, Biden emphasized the urgency of Washington’s need to continue providing military aid to Kiev, as the current situation is rapidly approaching a critical point. He stressed the importance of Congress approving additional assistance without delay.

Meanwhile, during a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky on Tuesday, Biden announced an additional military aid package of $200 million for Kiev, to include air defense interceptors, artillery, and ammunition.

On Thursday, lawmakers in both chambers of the US Congress approved a substantial military spending bill, valued at over $886 billion. This legislation includes a provision for $300 million in supplemental assistance for Ukraine, signaling a show of support for the country in the face of ongoing conflicts.

At the same time, unnamed US officials have told the New York Times that Ukraine will now have to fight on “a tighter budget,” and that Kiev has “unrealistic expectations” about US aid and is asking for military aid packages that “do not exist.”

Moscow has consistently cautioned that the provision of military assistance to Ukraine by the US and its allies will only serve to prolong the conflict and increase the likelihood of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO. Russian officials have further pointed out that the supply of arms, intelligence-sharing, and training of Ukrainian troops signifies that Western nations have already become indirect parties to the conflict.

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