The United States will urge allies around the world during a monthly defense meeting on Tuesday to continue supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia, despite running out of funding to do so itself.
The U.S. has hosted this monthly gathering since April 2022 and has been Ukraine’s chief financier during that span, but it will now have to do so for the first time without available funds to give to Ukraine. Instead, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will have to convince about 50 countries to continue sending ammunition and missiles to Ukraine and to keep bridging the gap in support until Congress passes a budget with money for Ukraine’s fight.
According to deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh, Tuesday’s meeting will focus on Ukraine’s longer-term needs.
“Even though we aren’t able to provide our security assistance right now, our partners are continuing to do that,” Singh said.
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Airmen from the 436th Aerial Port Squadron use a forklift to move 155 mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine, April 29, 2022, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. On Jan. 23, 2024, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will host a monthly gathering of about 50 allies as the U.S. is out of money for Ukraine, unable to send Ukraine the ammunition and missiles it needs to fend off Russia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Austin’s appearance at the meeting will be virtual as he is still recuperating at his home from prostate cancer surgery.
The U.S. has been emptying its stockpiles to assist Ukraine and has been using Congress-allocated funding to replenish these reserves. However, it has run out of money and has not been able to provide additional munitions since December 2023.
The last security assistance for Ukraine was sent on Dec. 27. It was a $250 million package that included 155 mm rounds, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other high-demand items, the Pentagon announced.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, center, will appear at the monthly meeting virtually as he recovers from prostate cancer surgery. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
The ability of the Defense Department to continue funding Ukraine’s war with Russia as well as Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza hinges on policy priorities between the White House and the U.S. Congress, including funding disagreements between the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate and the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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More than $110 billion in aid for both Ukraine and Israel is currently stalled over these disagreements.
On the morning of Jan. 23, 2024, Russian troops fired missiles at a residential area of Kharkiv. One of the missiles destroyed an entrance to a five-story building, damaged nearby houses, and destroyed half of the market. Dozens of people were hospitalized. Several people have died. The search for people under the ruins continues. (Oleksandr Stavytskyy/Suspilne Ukraine/JSC "UA:PBC"/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
Meanwhile, the war shows no signs of ending soon.
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Russia continues to escalate attacks in the new year and has shown no willingness to end the conflict. On Monday, the United Nations ruled out any peace plan backed by Kyiv and the West.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.