As Russia took over control of the city of Artemovsk (Bakhmut), a major transport and logistical hub in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Ukraine’s President Zelensky, fully aware that he was under pressure to pull off some imminent battlefield success for his Western patrons, descended upon the G7 summit, pleading for fresh military aid.
It won’t be long before billions of dollars of US-approved military aid to the Kiev regime is tapped, and any talk of more funding is on the back burner, a US report claims.
Last year, Washington approved a whopping $113 billion in overall aid and military assistance to Ukraine through emergency supplemental funding measures. Around three-fifths of the sum had been allocated to defense needs, such as procurement of new munitions and equipment, replacement of Department of Defense (DoD) stocks provided to Ukraine and funds allocated to training.
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Close to $37 billion has already been spent, said the report, citing the US Defense Department. Even if one were to take into consideration the accounting error discovered in March through an internal audit and revealed by the Pentagon on May 18—which would add another $3 billion—that would leave between $10 billion and $13 billion. The rate of spending witnessed at the moment may indicate that the funds for propping up the Kiev regime could be exhausted by September—the end of the fiscal year.
For all the much-touted readiness of Washington to support the Kiev authorities for as long as it takes, President Joe Biden’s troubles on the home front have required attention. The ongoing impasse between the White House and the Republicans regarding the debt ceiling is cited by lawmakers as one of the reasons any talk about the next round of funding for Ukraine is being put aside. Another reason is uncertainty regarding the “counteroffensive” that Ukraine promised but which has so far failed to materialize.
There is no clarity regarding whether the Republican-controlled House will continue to toe the line of relentless determination to provide one package of aid after another for Ukraine.
One lawmaker—Democrat Representative for Massachusetts, Bill Keating—confirmed in the report that a lot would ultimately depend on Ukraine’s counteroffensive.
“It’s not a precise science to say what, because it could be gains that were made that make more support less necessary… Or there could be damage inflicted where there has to be more [assistance],” Keating said, adding that Kiev has “enough right now for the near future.”
US Congress last approved the final package for Ukraine in December 2022, to cover most of 2023. When elected GOP-controlled House Speaker, the California Republican Kevin McCarthy, said there would be no “blank check” for Ukraine. However, in May he indicated that the House would stick to its guns with “what we’ve been doing.”
But meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the sidelines of the G7 in Hiroshima, Japan, US President Joe Biden touted a military aid package for Kiev that included artillery, armored vehicles, ammunition, and training.
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“Together with the entire G7, we have Ukraine’s back and I promise we’re not going anywhere,” Biden told Zelensky.
The Ukrainian president was in Hiroshima to plead for more weapons aid after Russia took control of the city of Artemovsk. The Russian military confirmed May 21 that operations by assault detachments supported by artillery and aviation of the Southern Group of Forces had led to the total liberation of the DPR city.
Just days earlier, Washington gave allies the go-ahead to transfer US-built F-16 jets to Ukraine. Biden also informed his G7 counterparts that the United States would support a joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth generation fighter aircraft, including F-16s.
Western countries have been supplying military aid to Ukraine since Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on 24 February 2022. The aid evolved from artillery and training in 2022 to heavier weapons, including tanks, later that year and in 2023.
The Kremlin, in turn, has repeatedly warned against continuously funneling arms to Kiev. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said any cargo that contains weapons for Ukraine will become a legitimate target for Russia. Moscow has repeatedly emphasized that the heavy levels of military aid being handed to Ukraine is only prolonging the conflict.
(Sputnik) by Svetlana Ekimenko
scorinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/sahelicot92/May 27, 2023
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