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White House: Ukraine aid to run out by yearend

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 5 ------ The White House's budget chief warned the United States Congress that failure to agree fresh funds for Ukraine by the end of the year would "kneecap" Kyiv on the battlefield. 


In a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said time was rapidly running out to support Ukraine's fight against Russia's invasion. "I want to be clear: without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine," Young wrote. "Cutting off the flow of US weapons and equipment will kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield," she added. 


President Joe Biden asked Congress in October to approve $106 billion in national security funding, including support for Ukraine and for Israel's war against Hamas. But Congress has been paralyzed for months by Republican infighting, with hard-right lawmakers particularly opposing any further assistance for Kyiv as the war drags on. 


Johnson, a representative from the southeastern US state of Louisiana who is a little-known ally of former president Donald Trump, took office in October after his predecessor Kevin McCarthy of California was ousted by a right-wing coup earlier that month. Under Johnson, Congress narrowly averted a chaotic government shutdown over the Thanksgiving holiday in November, but the deal to keep the lights on until mid-January left out aid to America's key allies. Young's strongly worded letter said that by that time, it would be too late and funds for Ukraine would have already dried up. "There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money — and nearly out of time," she wrote. She said failure to agree to more funding was not only putting Ukraine's gains to date at risk, but increasing the chance of Russian military victories. "This isn't a 'next year' problem. The time to help a democratic Ukraine fight against Russian aggression is right now. It is time for Congress to act," she added. 


Ukraine has been desperately pushing for more foreign aid as Russian forces step up attacks in the east after holding back Kyiv's much-vaunted counteroffensive. As the war enters a third winter, the frontline has largely remained static for the last year, despite a massive push by Ukrainian forces this summer with Western military hardware. Casting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hamas as twin forces trying to "annihilate" neighboring democracies, Biden has sought to tie $61 billion for Ukraine with $14 billion for Israel in the aid package he demanded in October. The US has already provided $40 billion in security aid to Ukraine since Russia began its invasion on Feb. 24, 2022. Ukraine also threatens to weigh on Biden's reelection chances as the Democrat seeks a second term, with polls showing a growing number of voters saying the US is doing too much to help Kyiv.   




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