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Pentagon Warns Congress Money is Low   10/03 06:15


   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon is warning Congress that it is running low 
on money to replace weapons the U.S. has sent to Ukraine and has already been 
forced to slow down resupplying some troops, according to a letter sent to 
congressional leaders.

   The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, urges Congress to replenish 
funding for Ukraine. Congress averted a government shutdown by passing a 
short-term funding bill over the weekend, but the measure dropped all 
assistance for Ukraine in the battle against Russia.

   Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord told House and Senate leaders there is 
$1.6 billion left of the $25.9 billion Congress provided to replenish U.S. 
military stocks that have been flowing to Ukraine. The weapons include millions 
of rounds of artillery, rockets and missiles critical to Ukraine's 
counteroffensive aimed at taking back territory gained by Russia in the war.

   In addition, the U.S. has about $5.4 billion left to provide weapons and 
equipment from its stockpiles. The U.S. would have already run out of that 
funding if the Pentagon hadn't realized earlier this year that it had 
overvalued the equipment it had already sent, freeing up about $6.2 billion. 
Some of that has been sent in recent months.

   McCord said the U.S. has completely run out of long-term funding for Kyiv 
through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which providesmoney to 
contract for future weapons.

   "We have already been forced to slow down the replenishment of our own 
forces to hedge against an uncertain funding future," McCord said in the 
letter. "Failure to replenish our military services on a timely basis could 
harm our military's readiness."

   He added that without additional funding now, the U.S. will have to delay or 
curtail air defense weapons, ammunition, drones and demolition and breaching 
equipment that are "critical and urgent now as Russia prepares to conduct a 
winter offensive."

   President Joe Biden said Sunday that while the aid will keep flowing for 
now, time is running out.

   "We cannot under any circumstances allow America's support for Ukraine to be 
interrupted," Biden said. "We have time, not much time, and there's an 
overwhelming sense of urgency."

   Mark Cancian, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International 
Studies, said if the aid doesn't keep flowing, Ukrainian resistance will begin 
to weaken.

   "If there's no new money, they're going to start feeling it by 
Thanksgiving," he said.

   The short-term funding bill passed by Congress lasts only until 
mid-November. And McCord said it would be too risky for the Defense Department 
to divert money from that temporary funding bill to pay for more aid to Ukraine.

   Many lawmakers acknowledge that winning approval for Ukraine assistance in 
Congress is growing more difficult as the war grinds on and resistance to the 
aid from the Republican hard-right flank gains momentum.

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