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Blinken announces 'one of last' defense aid packages 'unless Congress passes' further funding

by Martin Fornusek December 6, 2023 10:24 PM 2 min read
A U.S.-supplied and manufactured M142 HIMARS used by the Ukrainian military launches a rocket. (Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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The U.S. announced on Dec. 6 a $175 million defense aid package for Ukraine from previously directed drawdowns, in what Secretary of State Antony Blinken said would be one of the last military aid packages to Ukraine if Congress fails to pass additional funding.  

U.S. President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass a Ukraine aid bill on Dec. 6, saying that failing to support the country would be a "gift" for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Unless Congress acts to pass the president’s national security supplemental funding request, this will be one of the last security assistance packages we can provide to Ukraine," Blinken said in a statement.

Pentagon Spokesperson General Pat Ryder said on Dec. 5 that there is about $1.1 billion left in funding to replenish U.S. military stockpiles for weapons and equipment sent to Ukraine, adding that there is "roughly $4.8 billion in restored presidential drawdown authority still available."

This latest package includes air defense munition, HIMARS munition, artillery shells, air-to-surface High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM), anti-tank missiles,  and small arms ammunition.

It also contains demolitions for clearing obstacles, equipment for the protection of infrastructure, spare parts, ancillary equipment, services, training, and transportation.

"Until Russia ends this war by stopping its brutal attacks and withdrawing its forces from Ukraine, it is critical for the United States to continue to lead the coalition we have built of more than 50 countries standing strongly with Ukraine," Blinken said.

"Helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression and secure its future advances our national security interests and contributes to global stability around the world, and we need Congress to act immediately."

Congress has already allocated $111 billion to assist Ukraine since the start of the full-scale war, including $67 billion in military procurement funding, $27 billion for economic and civil assistance, and $10 billion for humanitarian aid.

U.S. Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young warned that all of those amounts, except for around 3% in defense funding, had been depleted by mid-November.

Treasury secretary: US will be responsible for Ukraine’s defeat if aid bill is not passed
President Joe Biden said that Congress failing to vote on the funding package would be “just wrong,” adding that “the failure to support Ukraine is just absolutely crazy,” and “against U.S. interests.”
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