The Pentagon considers a new plan to quickly send weapons to Ukraine

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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is considering providing Ukraine with much-needed weapons and ammunition from the Pentagon’s stockpile, even as the government has abandoned penniless to replace that munition, according to two U.S. officials and a senior lawmaker.

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Such a measure would represent short-term help recover the Armed Forces of Ukraine up to Congress break a deadlock months and will approve a larger military aid package for the country, officials said.

But when considering whether to take advantage of the Pentagon reservesthe administration is weighing both political risks and doubts about America’s military preparedness.

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“It’s something that I know is on the table,” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., who chairs the Armed Services Committee, said in an interview. Reed, recently returned from a trip to Ukraine, said he would support such a stopgap measure “incremental uses to save time.”

Help

The United States supplied to Ukraine 44.2 billion dollars in military aid since Russia launched its full-scale invasion two years ago.

About half of that amount was sent under so-called presidential withdrawal authority.

This allows the administration to immediately move Pentagon stockpiles to Ukraine instead of waiting the several months or years it takes for defense contractors to produce weapons under new contracts.

The last shipment took place in December.

The administration still has congressional authority to withdraw $4 billion in weapons and ammunition.

Cargo ships seen from a Ukrainian coast guard patrol vessel as they sail in the Black Sea, during Russia's attack on Ukraine, February 7, 2024. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo/File PhotoCargo ships seen from a Ukrainian coast guard patrol vessel as they sail in the Black Sea, during Russia’s attack on Ukraine, February 7, 2024. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo/File Photo

But in December it exhausted a separate fund that replenished munitions the United States had donated to Ukraine.

Since then, Pentagon and White House officials have said they are unwilling to risk the U.S. military’s willingness to draw on the Defense Department’s stockpile without being able to replace it.

This way of thinking is changing, especially due to the growing More serious of Ukraine on the battlefield.

Outnumbered and outgunned, Ukrainian ground forces are running out of artillery, air defense weapons and other munitions, Western officials and analysts say, and perhaps are in their more precarious position since the first months of the war.

Losses

In mid-February, Ukraine withdrew from the eastern city of Avdiivka, marking the country’s first major battlefield loss since the fall of Bakhmut last year.

The Biden administration attributed the withdrawal to Congress’ failure to provide additional money to support Ukraine’s war effort.

The Senate passed an emergency relief bill that includes $60.1 billion for Ukraine.

But the measure faces an uncertain fate in the House of Representatives, where President Mike Johnson has indicated he has no intention of putting it to a vote.

Some officials fear it reduce inventory now from the Department of Defense would relieve pressure on Congress to act on the long-term relief package.

It would also expose the administration to criticism from Republican opponents of aid to Ukraine that such a move without replenishing the Pentagon’s stockpile would harm the United States at a time of hostility in the Middle East and rising tensions with China.

At least for now, the administration is not publicly discussing the reduction option, as CNN previously reported.

Instead, he is pushing for a $60.1 billion relief bill.

“We are focused on urging the House of Representatives to pass the supplemental national security package as soon as possible,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in response to questions from The New York Times.

“Ukraine needs every resource contained in that package, and President Johnson should put it to a vote, where it would pass by an overwhelming majority, because there is no other way to fully meet Ukraine’s needs.”

Military officials say they are ready to send artillery munitions, air defense interceptors and other weapons to Ukraine as soon as they get the green light.

“We’re still meeting every day, we’re still tracking everything we would need to be able to ship once it’s approved,” said Lt. Gen. Leonard J. Kosinski, director of logistics for the Army’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. Wednesday at a briefing on Ukraine.

c.2024 The New York Times Company

Source: Clarin

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