US officials have warned lawmakers that budget restrictions may hamper both the US and Ukrainian militaries
The Pentagon has warned Congress that it does not have adequate funds to replace weapons sent to Ukraine, prompting concerns about Washington's ability to adequately resupply its own troops, Associated Press reported on Monday.
In a letter sent to congressional leaders and obtained by the outlet, the Pentagon called on lawmakers to replenish funding for Ukraine. The request comes days after a last-minute budget deal was struck to prevent a disruptive shutdown of the federal government, but did not contain additional funding for Kiev requested by the White House.
"We have already been forced to slow down the replenishment of our own forces to hedge against an uncertain funding future," Pentagon Comptroller MIchael McCord wrote in the letter. "Failure to replenish our military services on a timely basis could harm our military's readiness."
McCord added that if funding requests aren't met, the Pentagon might be restricted from supplying Ukraine with weapons it views as "critical and urgent now as Russia prepares to conduct a winter offensive."
There is presently $1.6 billion remaining from a $25.9 billion funding previously approved by Congress to replace US military resources sent to Ukraine, McCord told House and Senate leaders. Separately, the US has approximately $5.4 billion remaining to provide equipment to Kiev from its own existing stockpiles.
The US would have already run out of that funding by now had the Pentagon not realized this year that it had overvalued some equipment sent to Ukraine, freeing up around $6.2 billion - some of which has since been sent to Ukraine in the form of weapons and other aid, AP said.
"We cannot under any circumstances allow America's support for Ukraine to be interrupted," US President Joe Biden said on Sunday. "We have time, not much time, and there's an overwhelming sense of urgency."
Democratic efforts to continue funding the Ukrainian military have been met with significant resistance from some Republican hardliners, suggesting a growing shift towards a more isolationist position among some GOP members.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, whose budget legislation was signed by Biden to prevent the government shutdown, said on CBS on Sunday that while he supports Kiev in its fight against Moscow, he believes issues closer to home - such as the security of the United States' southern border - are more pressing concerns.