U.S. Funding For Kiev’s War Effort to Run Out This Week: Why Washington Could Let Ukraine Collapse

Following weeks of stringent opposition to provision of further aid to the Ukrainian government from Republicans in the U.S. Senate, the White House has warned it only has enough funding left for one more aid package which will be announced later this week. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby informed reporters on November 18 that after this “we will have no more replenishment authority available to us.” This followed a statement earlier in the day by Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord that after the Defence Department transferred just over $1 billion from various appropriation accounts to replace equipment and services provided to Ukraine, “the Department will have exhausted the funding available to us for security assistance to Ukraine.” Kirby and McCord both urged Congress to pass the Biden administration’s $106 billion supplemental national security spending bill, of which $61 billion was allocated to military aid for Ukraine. Although other parts of the bill have received significant bipartisan support, including military aid for Israel, funding for a military building targeting China in East Asia, and provision of security on the U.S.-Mexican border, aiding Ukraine has become a particularly controversial sticking point. 

The failure of attempted Ukrainian mass offensives against Russian positions from June, and growing reports of extreme levels of corruption in the country and tremendous inefficiencies in how it has waged its war effort, have been among the other contributing factors to reluctance to fund Kiev’s war effort. Beyond this, the significant rate at which the Biden administration has accumulated debt has for the first time in 2023 made interest payments to service American government spending more costly for the federal government than the Pentagon’s entire budget, with the rate of debt accumulation criticised by conservatives as being totally unsustainable. Funding has only become more stretched as the United States from October committed to a major surge in its military operations in the Middle East, which has include deployments to actively support the ongoing Israeli war effort against various Palestinian militia groups based in the Gaza Strip. An inability to raise defence spending levels to beyond what they were in 2022 has forced the Pentagon to make significant cuts elsewhere in order to finance this surge. America’s increasingly precarious financial position has contributed significantly to the possibility that Ukraine will be cut off from funding, which would mean a collapse not only of military operations, but also of basic government services since the Eastern European state’s own revenues are negligible and its functioning has overwhelmingly been facilitated by funding from across the Western world. Even more elite frontline units in the country have increasingly reported major equipment shortages hindering their operations, which combined with extreme casualties in the hundreds of thousands taken since offensives began in early June has led predictions for its future military prospects to turn increasingly grim.