Chris Lange, FISM News
The Defense Department revealed this week that it overestimated the value of weapons sent to Ukraine by roughly $6.2 billion over the past two years. The figure is roughly double a previous estimate.
Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said that final calculations revealed an error of $3.6 billion in the current fiscal year and $2.6 billion in FY2022. The surplus will be set aside for future security packages for Ukraine.
“It’s just going to go back into the pot of money that we have allocated for the future Pentagon stock drawdowns,” Singh told reporters at a press briefing on Tuesday.
The serendipitous surplus in weapons funding for Ukraine comes as congressional coffers for its defense against invading Russian forces are dwindling. It also means that President Joe Biden can send an additional $3 billion in military aid to Kyiv without the need for congressional approval.
The Defense Department has relied heavily on presidential drawdown authority to bypass normal purchase processes in order to rush shipments of weapons, ammunition, and other equipment plundered from U.S. stockpiles to Ukraine. DoD officials have said that they are not able to provide exact totals for the amount of money still available for drawdowns or for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which provides longer-term funding to purchase weapons like air defense systems.
As of June 13, the U.S. has provided roughly $40 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February 2022, according to the Pentagon. The Council for Foreign Relations reported in May that the U.S. has given Ukraine around $75 billion in humanitarian, financial, and military aid combined.
Speculation abounds about whether or not these figures are accurate.
The Military Times reported this week that the Biden administration has approved four rounds of aid to Ukraine totaling about $113 billion since Russia invaded its neighbor in February 2022.
US FINANCIAL COMMITMENT WILL EXTEND BEYOND WAR
Ukraine’s allies are also pouring money into the war-ravaged country’s anticipated future rebuilding needs, which the World Bank estimates will exceed $400 billion. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has already pledged $1.3 billion, including more than $500 million to help restore and improve Ukraine’s battered energy grid.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told assembled allied diplomats and politicians who gathered in London Wednesday to discuss rebuilding efforts that his country needs action, not words.
“We must move from vision to agreements and from agreements to real projects,” the Ukrainian leader said during a live video address at the summit, according to a US News report.
Reuters reported that ahead of the conference, a senior Ukrainian official said Kyiv is seeking $40 billion to fund the first phase of its “Green Marshall Plan” to develop a new coal-free steel industry.
President Biden has pledged to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes.” It remains to be seen how long a deeply divided Congress and the American public are willing to continue to bear the costs of war with no clear end in sight.