Valerijus Zalužnas, commander of the Ukrainian armed forces, has requested Pentagon for 17 million rounds of ammunition and financial support ranging from 350 to 400 billion U.S. dollars. This request aims at liberating Ukrainian territory and has surprised officials due to the sheer volume of ammunition sought. Lloyd Austin, U.S. Secretary of Defense, during his visit to Kyiv, was informed about the internal challenges faced by Zalužnas, including interference from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's office.
Urgent Funding Needed to Support Ukraine
Simultaneously, Shalanda Young, the White House Budget Director, warned the U.S. Congress of the urgent need for new funding for Ukraine. Without it, Ukrainian forces would face severe compromises on the battlefield. In October, U.S. President Joe Biden requested a $106 billion security funding package, including aid for Ukraine and Israel's conflict with Hamas. However, disagreements within Congress, particularly among hardline right-wing lawmakers, have impeded further aid to Kyiv.
Political Dynamics Complicating Funding Efforts
The current political dynamics in Congress, with Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson at the helm after a conservative wing coup, have complicated these funding efforts. Young's urgent message underscores the risk of Ukrainian military setbacks and potential Russian advances if additional funding is not promptly secured.
Ukraine's Dire Need for International Support
Ukraine needs international support urgently as Russian forces intensify their assault in the east. This need comes especially after withstanding a counteroffensive by Kyiv. The front lines have remained largely unchanged over the past year despite significant efforts by Ukrainian forces using Western military technology. The United States has provided $40 billion in military aid to Ukraine since Russia's invasion in February 2022.
The situation in Ukraine may also influence Biden's re-election prospects, as more voters believe the U.S. is overextending its support for Kyiv.