Defense

Biden running out of money source for Ukraine

Smoke rises from the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal in Mariupol during shelling
Alexei Alexandrov/Associated Press
Smoke rises from the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal in Mariupol during shelling

The Biden administration has reached the end of its presidential drawdown authority funding, with about $100 million left, the Pentagon’s top spokesman said Monday.   

Between President Biden’s Friday announcement of a $150 million assistance package to Ukraine and the remaining $100 million, the United States will be able to provide weapons and equipment to Ukraine until “about the third week of this month,” press secretary John Kirby told reporters. 

“We’re going to be working that in real time with the Ukrainians, that will get us to about the third week of this month, is what we’re pretty much anticipating,” Kirby said. 

Biden last week warned that the latest round of military assistance for Ukraine — a $150 million package to include artillery munitions, radars and other equipment — would nearly exhaust the military assistance that Congress has so far approved for the administration to deliver to Ukraine.  

At the time, he pressed Congress to quickly approve the $33 billion the White House has asked for in additional security, economic and humanitarian assistance for Kyiv — about $5 billion of which would go to additional presidential drawdown authority funding.  

Kirby on Monday echoed that thinking and said the administration continues “to urge Congress to pass the president’s supplemental request as soon as possible so that we can continue to provide aid to Ukraine uninterrupted.” 

Kirby said the drawdown authority allows the United States to get weapons and equipment “off our shelves — we already own it, it’s already ours — and get it right to Ukraine.” 

“We think with what we got left that’ll get us through most of this month and in terms of future packages and future material, but that’s why we’re urging Congress to act quickly,” he added. 

Congress is drafting legislation to meet the administration’s request — which has bipartisan support — but the process of approving such a bill may be complicated due to a desire by some to link it to a separate administration ask for more COVID-19 pandemic assistance.   

Tags Biden John Kirby Russia Ukraine

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