Kiev is spending more than comes in and is running out of money, the US Treasury secretary says
The US will bear the blame should Ukraine be defeated on the battlefield if additional aid isn’t approved by Congress, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday. The US funds are “utterly essential” to Kiev, Yellen told the press while on a visit to Mexico City.
US lawmakers have been debating a $111 billion supplemental spending package that would include $61 billion for Kiev, along with funding for Israel, Taiwan, and US border security. The latest proposal was unveiled by Democrats on Tuesday.
Yellen said she had talked to lawmakers, and they understand “that this is a dire situation and we can hold ourselves responsible for Ukraine’s defeat if we don’t manage to get this funding to Ukraine that’s needed, and I’m including direct budget support here because that’s utterly essential.”
The delay of US war funding exposes Kiev to a “big risk to lose this war,” President Vladimir Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andrey Yermak, warned at the US Institute of Peace this week.
On Monday, US Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young appealed to congressional leaders in a letter, warning that the resources allocated to Kiev are running out. She stated that by mid-November, the Pentagon had spent 97% of the $62.3 billion it had received this year for Ukraine. The State Department and US Agency for International Development, she said, had used up all of the funds allocated.
Replying to Young, House Speaker Mike Johnson said Republican support for the bill would require setting aside money for securing the US-Mexico border against uncontrolled migration. Outlining the Republican position in October he set down “two essential prerequisites: security at our border, and critical answers regarding the funds requested,” referring to allegations of corruption within Ukraine, and misuse of US-provided funds.
On Tuesday, Zelensky was to appeal to the Senate and White House officials to discuss more money for Kiev, but the meeting was called off by his team minutes before it was to begin.
Following Zelensky’s unexpected cancellation, the briefing grew heated, with some Republicans, including Senators Deb Fischer and Mitt Romney, leaving early.
“The point is there’s no answer to any questions down there,” Fischer told Defense News, adding “We’ve had it.”
Speaker Mike Johnson has demanded a “full accounting of how prior US military and humanitarian aid” to Ukraine was spent. So far, Washington has provided Kiev with almost $75 billion in combined funding over nearly two years of its hostilities with Russia.
Moscow considers the conflict a proxy war against Russia in which Ukrainians die as “cannon fodder” to serve foreign interests. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has estimated Ukrainian losses since the summer start of Kiev’s counteroffensive at around 125,000 people.
December 06, 2023 at 10:41PM