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Pentagon considers using $4 billion for aid to Ukraine, CNN

Pentagon considers using $4 billion for aid to Ukraine, CNN Lloyd Austin (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

The Pentagon is considering whether to use the last remaining source of military aid funding to support Ukraine's military efforts, even without guarantees that these funds will be reimbursed by Congress, reports CNN.

The Department of Defense still has approximately $4 billion in presidential funds for Ukraine, allowing the Pentagon to use its own reserves to send military equipment to Kyiv.

However, the Pentagon previously hesitated to spend any remaining funds without assurances of reimbursement by Congress through a request for an additional $60 billion in funding from the administration, as depleting stocks from the Department of Defense without a replenishment plan could affect US military readiness.

Yet, with Ukraine increasingly desperate for US military aid and the House of Representatives refusing to vote on new funding, high-ranking Defense Department officials are discussing whether there is any internal financial cushion that would allow the department to spend at least part of this aid from the remaining $4 billion to assist Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

No decisions have been made yet, but discussions about this option and other potential backup plans have become increasingly relevant in recent weeks as the situation on the battlefield in Ukraine becomes increasingly dire.

Official statements regarding this idea

Responding to questions about the possibility of using the remaining $4 billion, Department of Defense spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Garron Garn stated that the Pentagon continued to urge Congress to take additional steps to support Ukraine in this difficult time and to replenish national reserves.

Officials said that the department could go further and spend some of these $4 billion even without finding money within the country that could be used for replenishment.

"But it would not be unprecedented for the Pentagon to find additional, unexpected sources of funding," the material writes.

Pentagon spokesman General Patrick Ryder said he had nothing to announce, but the Pentagon was continuing to explore ways to continue supporting Ukraine.

"And so, yes, while we do have that $4.2 billion in authority, we don’t have the funds available to us to replenish those stocks should we expend that. And with no timeline in sight, we have to make those hard decisions," he added.

What could be included in the new aid package

Last year, the Department of Defense announced that it had found an accounting error that resulted in the Department of Defense overstating the amount of aid it provided to Ukraine by $6.2 billion. These additional funds provided the department with a safety net, allowing it to provide military aid to Ukraine for longer than anticipated.

A separate Defense Department spokesman told CNN that the next aid package to Ukraine, if received, would definitely include critically important ammunition.

Discussions are also underway on how and where to pre-position military equipment so that it can be quickly sent to Ukraine as soon as additional funding sources are identified.

Delay in US military aid

On February 13, the US Senate approved a $95 billion assistance bill for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. In particular, the document provides for more than $61 billion in aid to Ukraine.

To take effect, the bill must be approved by the US House of Representatives and signed by President Joe Biden.

However, on February 16, Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson refused to bring the bill to a vote.

Congressmen went on vacation until February 28, once again delaying the approval and provision of US assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.