UNITED STATES

Pentagon to rush $300 million in weapons to Ukraine

Mar 12, 2024, 12:32 PM

A member of Ukraine's 72nd Brigade Anti-air unit points to the direction of a Russian Zala reconnai...

FILE: A member of Ukraine's 72nd Brigade Anti-air unit points to the direction of a Russian Zala reconnaissance drone sighted overhead as they prepare to fire a Strela -10 anti-air missile system on February 23, 2024 near Marinka, Ukraine. February 24 will mark two years since Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine, which has left tens of thousands dead and many more wounded, although neither country releases official casualty figures. The war has also sparked economic insecurity around the world, further isolated Russia from the West, and, while initially galvanising NATO countries, has exposed tensions between Western allies over the scale and duration of military support to Ukraine. Two years on, the war shows no sign of ending, even while the frontlines have changed very little in recent months. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon will rush about $300 million in weapons to Ukraine after finding some cost savings in its contracts, even though the military remains deeply overdrawn and needs at least $10 billion to replenish all the weapons it has pulled from its stocks to help Kyiv in its desperate fight against Russia, senior defense officials said Tuesday.

It’s the Pentagon’s first announced security package for Ukraine since December, when it acknowledged it was out of replenishment funds. It wasn’t until recent days that officials publicly acknowledged they weren’t just out of replenishment funds, but $10 billion overdrawn.

The replenishment funds have allowed the Pentagon to pull existing munitions, air defense systems and other weapons from its reserve inventories under presidential drawdown authority, or PDA, to send to Ukraine and then put contracts on order to replace those weapons.

One of the senior defense officials who briefed reporters said the package represented a “one time shot” — unless Congress passes a stalled supplemental spending bill that includes roughly $60 billion in military aid for Ukraine, or more cost savings are found. It is expected to include anti-aircraft missiles, artillery rounds and armor systems, the official said.

The aid announcement comes as Polish leaders are in Washington to press the U.S. to break its impasse over replenishing funds for Ukraine at a critical moment in the war. Polish President Andrzej Duda met Tuesday with Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate and was to meet with President Joe Biden later in the day.

House Speaker Mike Johnson has so far refused to bring the $95 billion package, which includes aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, to the floor. Seeking to put pressure on the Republican speaker, House Democrats have launched a long-shot effort to force a vote through a discharge petition. The seldom-successful procedure would require support from a majority of lawmakers, or 218 members, to move the aid package to a vote.

Ukraine’s situation has become more dire, with units on the front line rationing munitions as they face a vastly better supplied Russian force. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly implored Congress for help, but House Republican leadership has not been willing to bring the Ukraine aid to the floor for a vote, saying any aid must first address border security needs.

Pentagon officials said Monday during budget briefing talks they were counting on the supplemental to cover the $10 billion replenishment hole.

“If we don’t get the $10 billion we would have to find other means,” Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said. “Right now we’re very much focused on the need for that supplemental.”

The senior defense officials who briefed reporters said the Pentagon was able to get cost savings of roughly $300 million in earlier Ukraine contracts and, given the battlefield situation, decided to use those savings to go ahead and send more weapons. The officials said the cost savings basically offset the new package and keep the replenishment spending underwater at $10 billion.

This is the second time in less than nine months that the Pentagon has “found” money to use for additional weapons shipments to Ukraine. Last June, defense officials said they had overestimated the value of the weapons the U.S. had sent to Ukraine by $6.2 billion over the past two years.

At the time, Pentagon officials said a review found that the military services used replacement costs rather than the book value of equipment that was pulled from Pentagon stocks and sent to Ukraine. The discovery resulted in a surplus that the department used for presidential drawdown packages until the end of December.

The United States has committed more than $44.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including more than $44.2 billion since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

The Pentagon is $10 billion overdrawn in the replenishment account in part due to inflationary pressures, and in part because the new systems the Pentagon is seeking to replace the old systems with cost more, such as the upcoming Precision Strike Missile, or PrSM, which the Army is buying to replace the long-range Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS.

The vast majority of those munitions have come from Army stockpiles due to the nature of the conventional land war in Ukraine.

The months without further shipments of U.S. support have hurt operations, and Ukrainian troops withdrew from the eastern city of Avdiivka last month, where outnumbered defenders had withheld a Russian assault for four months.

CIA Director William Burns told Congress that entire Ukrainian units have told him in recent days of being down to their last few dozen artillery shells and other ammunition. Burns called the retreat from Avdiivka a failure of ammunition resupply, not a failure of Ukrainian will.
___
Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer contributed.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

United States

Image of Lunchables. Consumer Reports has petitioned the USDA to remove school Lunchables from scho...

Parija Kavilanz and Sandee LaMotte, CNN

Consumer group wants Lunchables out of school lunch programs

Consumer Reports said their tests found the school cafeteria version of Lunchables has too much sodium.

2 days ago

A federal test of this well located in Salt Lake's Memory Grove, found small amounts of "forever ch...

Jen Christensen

Biden administration sets first national standard to limit ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water

In an attempt to limit the amount of forever chemicals in United States drinking water, the Biden administration set a new national standard.

2 days ago

Aimee Harris, right, walks out of Manhattan federal court, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in New York. The...

LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press

Florida woman sentenced to a month in jail for selling Biden’s daughter’s diary

Aimee Harris pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in August 2022, and admitted she sold the items to the conservative group Project Veritas.

3 days ago

James Crumbley reacts to his wife Jennifer Crumbley, mother of Oxford High School mass shooter Etha...

ED WHITE Associated Press

Michigan school shooter’s parents sentenced to 10 years in prison

Judge Cheryl Matthews said the parents ignored things that should have raised the hair on the back of their necks.

3 days ago

people protest in arizona after abortions law roe v wade overturned by supreme court...

KEVIN STONE, KTAR

Most abortions banned in Arizona after state Supreme Court upholds 1864 law

It will be illegal to perform abortions in Arizona except when necessary to save the life of the mother. Abortion had been legal in Arizona up to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

3 days ago

Chad Daybell appears during a court hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, Aug. 4, 2020. On the first day o...

Adam Small

Chad Daybell trial to be streamed. Legal analyst provides possible reasons

The upcoming trial of Chad Daybell will be livestreamed. He faces multiple counts of murder and conspiracy.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Live Nation Concerts

Artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Pentagon to rush $300 million in weapons to Ukraine