Pentagon Is Rushing $300M in Weapons to Ukraine

Money was found in contract cost savings
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 12, 2024 2:57 PM CDT
Pentagon Is Rushing $300M in Weapons to Ukraine
Ukrainian soldiers prepare to fire a multiple launch rocket system towards Russian positions at the front line, near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, March 5, 2024.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

The Pentagon will rush about $300 million in weapons to Ukraine after finding some cost savings in its contracts, even though the military remains deeply overdrawn and needs at least $10 billion to replenish all the weapons it has pulled from its stocks to help Kyiv in its desperate fight against Russia, the White House announced Tuesday. It's the Pentagon's first announced security package for Ukraine since December, when it acknowledged it was out of replenishment funds. It wasn't until recent days that officials publicly acknowledged they weren't just out of replenishment funds, but $10 billion overdrawn, the AP reports.

  • Ukraine's situation has become more dire, with units on the front line rationing munitions as they face a vastly better supplied Russian force. "When Russian troops advance and its guns fire, Ukraine does not have enough ammunition to fire back," said national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

  • The announcement comes as efforts to get fresh funds for weapons have stalled in the House because of Republican opposition. US officials have insisted for months that the United States wouldn't be able to resume weapons deliveries until Congress provided additional replenishment funds, which are part of a large supplemental package stalled in Congress.
  • The replenishment funds have allowed the Pentagon to pull existing munitions, air defense systems, and other weapons from its reserve inventories under presidential drawdown authority, or PDA, to send to Ukraine and then put contracts on order to replace those weapons, which are needed to maintain US military readiness.
  • The Pentagon also has had a separate Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, or USAI, which has allowed it to fund longer-term contracts with industry to produce new weapons for Ukraine. Senior defense officials who briefed reporters said the Pentagon was able to get cost savings in some of those longer-term contracts of roughly $300 million and, given the battlefield situation, decided to use those savings to go ahead and send more weapons.
  • One of the officials said the package represented a "one time shot"—unless Congress passes the supplemental spending bill, which includes roughly $60 billion in military aid for Ukraine, or more cost savings are found.
(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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