US can’t give Ukraine guarantees – White House

Congress has yet to approve billions in additional military and financial aid Kiev has requested

The Ukrainian government can’t rely on additional funding from the US until it has been approved in Congress, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said at the White House press briefing on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Senate failed to advance the $111 billion spending bill that would have allocated over $60 billion in aid to Kiev, even after President Joe Biden argued that this would undermine US leadership and prestige.

“We’re not in a position to make that promise to Ukraine, given where things are on the Hill,” Kirby said, answering a reporter who asked whether the White House could offer any assurances that additional funding was coming Kiev’s way.

The US Congress has approved over $120 billion worth of aid to Kiev since the conflict with Russia escalated in February 2022. This included cash payments to keep the Ukrainian government going, as well as more than $44 billion worth of weapons, ammunition and equipment for Kiev’s military from the Pentagon’s stockpiles.

“The biggest problem that we are running up against is we don’t have enough money to backfill our own stocks, which means we don’t have enough to continue to supply Ukraine with what it needs,” the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters on Thursday. “Because it is our weapons, our capabilities, our systems being pulled off our shelves, and being shipped over to Ukraine, and if we can’t backfill that’s going to also impact our own readiness.”

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Biden asked for over $60 billion in additional funding in mid-October, as House Republicans fought to elect a new speaker. The White House chose to bundle that request with aid to Israel, Taiwan and the US-Mexico border. That appears to have been a mistake, however, as Republicans insisted on addressing the fact that over six million people had crossed into the US illegally since Biden took office in 2021.

Democrats called the Republican holdouts “hard right” and “extreme,” while Biden made an impassioned plea on Wednesday to not “kneecap Ukraine” just as it was supposedly winning thanks to all the Western assistance. Biden even suggested that US troops might end up fighting the Russians directly instead of using Ukraine as a bulwark.

Earlier in the week, the Washington Post reported on the failure of Ukraine’s grand counteroffensive this past summer, revealing that Kiev threw out the plan wargamed by US and British generals after just a few days of fighting in June wiped out much of its Western-supplied equipment.

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