Deadlock on U.S. aid to Ukraine casts shadow on German talks

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Pentagon leaders on Tuesday vowed to support Ukraine in its war to repel Russian forces, even as doubts grow that the Biden administration can overcome political gridlock in Washington and free up billions of dollars in additional U.S. military aid.

After holding talks with senior officials from more than 40 partner countries, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin described the conflict’s significant global impact as Russian President Vladimir Putin The two-year-old invasion remains locked in a costly stalemate.

“Today, Ukraine’s survival is at risk and the security of the United States is at risk,” Austin told reporters. “They don’t have a day to waste, and we don’t have a day to spare. So I leave here today determined to ensure that the flow of U.S. security assistance and munitions continues.”

Austin listed a series of painful costs paid by Moscow in its campaign to conquer Ukraine: 315,000 Russian soldiers were killed or injured; 20 large and medium-sized naval ships were damaged or destroyed; and unrealized economic growth exceeded $1 trillion.He also focused on European allies continue to provide arms donations to Ukraine, including a new Czech-led initiative to purchase 800,000 artillery shells.

Tuesday’s The meeting, the 20th of the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group, came as Ukrainian leaders urgently called for more military supplies, especially artillery shells and anti-aircraft interceptors, which they said would be essential to protecting civilians and preventing Russia make additional progress.

Austin and Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held talks beforehand with Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov and Gen. Alexander Silsky. Became the country’s top commander in last month’s military reshuffle.

However, the meeting also underscored the troubling dynamics the Biden administration must contend with as it attempts to lead the international community’s fight to sustain Ukraine but is unable to provide concrete guarantees of its own future support.

The United States has by far become Ukraine’s largest military supporter since Putin’s invasion. But despite months of pleas from the White House, Congress has yet to pass President Biden’s request for $60 billion in additional security aid as part of a larger package that also includes aid to Israel in its war in the Gaza Strip.

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Although some lawmakers are now trying to Bypass rejection Although House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) voted for the bill, it’s far from clear whether Biden’s proposal will allay skepticism among some Republicans.

After months of no new contributions from the United States, officials announced last week that the Pentagon would send aid to Ukraine New weapons shipment worth $300 million Unforeseen contract savings made this possible. But military leaders warned that without new funds to restore donated weapons, further dipping into the U.S. arsenal would jeopardize U.S. security.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces are rationing artillery on the front lines and reducing attempts to shoot down airstrikes targeting Ukrainian cities.Against this pessimistic backdrop, U.S. officials expect A series of bleak scenes Lines including Ukraine could collapse if the government’s supplementary bill remains blocked.

The uncertainty is heightened as Biden’s campaign to secure re-election heats up ahead of November’s presidential election.Former President Donald Trump, his likely Republican opponent, has Refusing to commit to future aid to Ukraine and stated that any continued support should be directed to Loans rather than donations.

Austin said there was broad bipartisan support for continuing aid to Ukraine despite the obstruction in Congress.

“I’m optimistic that we’re going to see some progress on that action,” he said. “But again, this is something you can’t absolutely predict. We will continue to work closely with Congress and our international partners to ensure that Ukraine gets the support it needs.”

In Europe, America’s allies are Race to revitalize the country’s defense industry And reconsider your risk tolerance when considering additional contributions to Ukraine. Some of these allies have similarly sought to downplay the impact of uncertainty surrounding U.S. aid, attributing the situation to politics.

Asked about the U.S. standoff over Ukraine, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said his coalition government faced its own internal challengesreferring to “special aspects” of the American political system.

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“So we have to deal with this problem and we will deal with this problem,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Ramstein conference, saying European countries had taken their own steps to bolster security and military capabilities. “So we’re doing our homework and I’m sure and confident that the U.S. will [do] Just like before. “

Austin and Brown also addressed the Biden administration’s deepening differences with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Israel’s handling of the war against Hamas militants in Gaza.

Netanyahu’s government has agreed to send a team of military, intelligence and humanitarian officials to Washington to discuss U.S. concerns about Israel’s plans for a major offensive in the southern city of Rafah, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday. , a city with a population of over 1 million. People have taken shelter and looked into possible alternatives.

Brown said he had not yet seen a blueprint for Israel’s planned Rafah offensive. He pointed to the history of U.S. military operations in urban environments in the Middle East and said U.S. officials are trying to share lessons learned from those experiences, including steps to protect civilians.

Biden administration also accuses Israel of delaying aid to Gaza, UN says famine is imminenteven as it asked the U.S. military to drop food aid from cargo planes and build a floating dock to achieve sea delivery.

Austin warned that Israel could eventually face “strategic failure“If it fails to adequately protect civilians. According to the Palestinian Authority, more than 30,000 people have been killed The situation in Gaza has continued to deteriorate since Israel responded to an October 7 attack by Hamas that killed some 1,200 people.

“Israel has the right to defend itself. But it also needs to protect civilians on the battlefield,” he said. “Again, these two things are not mutually exclusive.”

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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