Pentagon: Congress must pass next Ukraine aid by Thursday to avoid interruptions

Congress must pass a proposed $40 billion Ukraine supplemental aid package by Thursday to avoid an interruption of U.S. weapons shipments to the embattled country, the Pentagon’s top spokesperson said Friday. 

“May 19 is the day we really — without additional authorities — we begin to not have the ability to send new stuff in,” press secretary John Kirby told reporters. “It’ll start impacting our ability to provide aid uninterrupted.” 

Earlier this week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, along with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, sent a letter to House and Senate leadership asking for the money by the end of next week “if we are to continue are security assistance at the current pace.” 

And the Pentagon on Monday said the $3.5 billion in drawdown authority — passed in March as part of the $1.5 trillion government funding bill — will be exhausted later this month

About $100 million is still left from that pot of money and has not yet been allocated, Kirby said. 

The House on Tuesday passed the supplemental package for Ukraine, but the Senate was unable to do so after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blocked the bill’s passage over demands that there be more oversight on how the money will be spent.  

Kirby said the Pentagon urges the Senate “to act as quickly as possible so we don’t get to the end of May and not have any additional authorities to draw back, to draw upon.” 

“If we don’t get those authorities soon … it’s possible that there could be a bubble — a period of time in which, you know, there’s just nothing moving and we want to make sure we avoid that,” he said. 

Tags Antony Blinken John Kirby Lloyd Austin Russia Russo-Ukrainian War Ukraine Ukraine crisis Ukraine invasion Ukraine war

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