Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young’s letter stressed the risk of running out of funds by year-end, potentially crippling Ukraine’s war effort….reports Asian Lite News
The White House has warned that it will run out of money to provide military assistance to Ukraine in its fight against Russia without congressional action by the end of the year.
This comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to address U.S. senators via video during a classified briefing, urging approval of the White House’s $106 billion funding request for wars in Ukraine, Israel, and security needs.
Also, Senate Majority Leader Schumer highlighted the urgency following an administration warning that Kyiv’s defence against Russia could stall without aid.
Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young’s letter stressed the risk of running out of funds by year-end, potentially crippling Ukraine’s war effort. President Biden faces challenges securing aid on Capitol Hill, with GOP skepticism and demands for border policy changes.
She added that the U.S. already has run out of money that it has used to prop up Ukraine’s economy, and “if Ukraine’s economy collapses, they will not be able to keep fighting, full stop”, Associated Press reported.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan emphasized Congress’s critical choice in supporting Ukraine’s fight for freedom. He said that the “Congress has to decide whether to continue to support the fight for freedom in Ukraine as part of the 50-nation coalition that President Biden has built, or whether Congress will ignore the lessons we’ve learned from history and let Putin prevail.”
“It is that simple. It is that stark choice, and we hope that Congress on a bipartisan basis will make the right choice,” report quoted Sullivan as saying.
The negotiations on the border security package stalled over the weekend, with talks expected to resume this week and a test vote on Wednesday. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell noted ongoing engagement, while Congress has already allocated $111 billion for Ukraine, most of which has been depleted.
The GOP-controlled House passed a standalone assistance package for Israel, aligning with the White House’s insistence on meeting all priorities. The situation underscores the urgency and challenges in securing necessary funding for ongoing conflicts and geopolitical priorities.
Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance should be ready for bad news from Ukraine.
“We should also be prepared for bad news,” he said, when asked if he feared that the situation in Ukraine would worsen in the future. “Wars develop in phases. But we have to support Ukraine in both good and bad times.”
Stoltenberg stressed the importance of enhancing ammunition production, acknowledging the inability of NATO countries to meet the rising demand. He noted Ukraine’s current “critical situation” but refrained from suggesting specific actions for Kyiv to take, as reported by TASS.
“I will leave it to the Ukrainians and military commanders to make these difficult operational decisions,” Stoltenberg said.
He also spoke on the challenges faced by the European defence industry. “One of the issues we should address is the fragmentation of the European defence industry,” he said.
The NATO chief also highlighted that promoting increased ammunition production is in the best interest of Europe and contributes to job growth in the industry. He emphasised the importance of preventing a surge in ammunition prices following the rise in demand. Stoltenberg mentioned that there haven’t been any noteworthy developments on the battlefield in recent months and refrained from providing a forecast for future events.
“Wars are inherently unpredictable,” the official said. “But we know that the more we support Ukraine, the faster the war will end,” TASS reported.
Putin’s decree was released by the Kremlin and took force immediately. It brings the strength of the armed forces to 1.32 million service personnel and increases the overall number of Russian military personnel to about 2.2 million, Al Jazeera reported.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian prosecutors have launched a probe on whether Russian troops killed two soldiers after they had surrendered. In a statement on Sunday, the Ukraine prosecutor general’s office said the incident took place near an observation post outside the village of Stepove near Donetsk, CNN reported.
The probe, which is being overseen by the office, was announced a day after video of the incident was shared by Ukrainian government on social media. “The killing of prisoners of war is a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions and is classified as a serious international crime,” CNN quoted the statement as saying.
On December 2, the Ukrainian military said that the footage showed the execution of two prisoners of war. Since Russia launched its war against Ukraine in February 2022, it has been accused of carrying out a series of crimes. But the Kremlin has denied any wrongdoing.
Earlier this year, The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for his alleged role in a scheme to deport Ukrainian children to Russia, CNN reported. Ukrainian officials are investigating a substantial number of criminal cases and war crimes, including 3,000 involving children.