President Joe Biden is planning to hold phone calls with allies possibly as early as Tuesday, with an aim of reassuring them his administration will remain committed to supporting Ukraine, Bloomberg reports.
The White House has further said it will unveil another defense package for Ukraine "soon" - which would be part of previously approved funds - in order to "signal our continued support." This comes immediately on the heels of Biden being forced by Congressional Republican holdouts to sign a stopgap funding bill that did not include aid for Ukraine.
Already as of last Friday, the Pentagon had informed Congress that it has "exhausted nearly all available security assistance funding for Ukraine" - including air defense weaponry and ammunition, leaving Ukraine more vulnerable as the Russian onslaught continues. Pentagon estimates indicate there are "months left" in its available supply of weapons for Kiev.
The Wall Street Journal is out with some fresh specifics, confirming that the Pentagon still has over $5 billion remaining to provide weaponry based on what's been approved in this past year, with Biden officials saying it's "unclear how long that money could last." The report indicated that figure is roughly equivalent to the amount of weaponry sent over the last six months.
But any stoppage in funding would have more severe impact on Ukraine's longer term defense, US officials say per the WSJ:
But another pot of money the U.S. had been using for a longer-term program to refurbish Ukraine’s military and make it more compatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, is empty, administration officials said. And an account used to replenish the Defense Department’s own arsenal after the provision of U.S. arms to Ukraine is now down to about $1.6 billion—insufficient to keep the Pentagon whole, officials said.
Despite dire warnings from the Biden administration, the threat to security assistance for Ukraine is more likely to emerge in the long term, and U.S. officials say the political uncertainty in Washington sends a terrible signal to the international community that President Biden has rallied in support of Kyiv’s fight against Russia. In addition, Ukraine’s supporters fear Russian President Vladimir Putin will come to believe he can wait out the U.S.
The mention of the account used to replenish America's own arsenal being drained should be most alarming for those who put "America first". Still, one official told the Journal that "Nobody is hitting the panic button over here."
Also on Monday, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said of what's left of approved funding "is enough for us to meet Ukraine’s urgent battlefield needs for a bit longer," while qualifying, "But it is not a long-term solution."
She also took a moment in an afternoon press briefing to say the Biden administration won't let Putin be confirmed in his belief that he can "outlast" US resolve...
🚨#BREAKING: The Pentagon has issued a warning to Congress, that it they are running low on funds for replacing weapons sent to Ukraine. Meanwhile, the White House spokesperson has issued a statement, "Putin believes he can outlast us, but he is mistaken. We will soon deliver… pic.twitter.com/ArVpPOkESn— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) October 2, 2023
European leaders have at the same time sought to assure Ukraine that even if US support wanes, the EU's will not. EU foreign ministers took part in a "historic" meeting in the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday, and said it was a "demonstration of our resolute and lasting support for Ukraine, until it can win."