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Official Says Without U.S. Funding, Ukraine's Defense Will Likely Collapse

Despite generous military support for Ukraine by allies and partners, unless Congress passes the Defense Department's supplemental funding request, Ukraine will not be able to defend itself against Russian aggression, a senior defense official told the news media today. 

Fire comes out of a tank.
Tank Exercise
Soldiers in an M1A2 SEPV3 Abrams tank assigned to the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division fires conduct a Combined Arms Live-Fire exercise at Trzebien, Poland, Feb. 12, 2024. The 3rd Infantry Division’s mission in Europe is to engage in multinational training and exercises across the continent, working alongside NATO Allies and regional security partners to provide combat-credible forces to V Corps, America’s forward deployed corps in Europe.
Photo By: Army Spc. Bernabe Lopez III
VIRIN: 240212-A-PA175-2535

"If Ukraine fails because we fail to provide them with security assistance, the costs are high for Europe, for the United States, and for the world — higher than the cost of security assistance today," the official said.  

Without the supplemental funding, DOD also faces resource gaps in support for its own forces deployed in Europe, the official added. 

The official said the lack of a supplemental is already impacting Ukraine. 

A civilian speaks to service members.
Wormuth Briefing
Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth observes U.S.-led training of Ukrainians at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, Feb. 15, 2024. During her visit, Wormuth received briefings and spoke to U.S. and Ukrainian soldiers.
Photo By: Army 2nd Lt. Jarvis Mace, Army National Guard
VIRIN: 240215-A-WV749-8501A

In the strategic city of Avdiivka in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian forces are running short of ammunition and other critical supplies, and the city is at risk of soon falling into Russian hands, the official said. 

"We see this as something that could be the harbinger of what is to come if we do not get this supplemental funding—because without supplemental funding, not only can we not resupply those forces that are bravely trying to defend Avdiivka, we also will find many other locations along the forward line of troops that will be running low on supplies of critical ammunition," the official said. 

Also, without supplemental funding, Ukraine will not have adequate air defense interceptors to defend its cities, critical infrastructure, and forward line of troops against the continual barrage of Russian missiles, the official said. 

The official also said that besides Avdiivka, other areas will also fall as Ukrainian forces run out of ammunition and air-defense capabilities. 

Soldiers are bundled up in the cold.
Officer Remarks
Gen. Darryl A. Williams, U.S. Army Europe and Africa commanding general, addresses soldiers of Ukraine's armed forces at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, Jan. 24, 2024. Williams observed soldiers training during his visit.
Photo By: Army Capt. Micah Welch
VIRIN: 240124-A-DN319-7126A

Regarding the latest Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting, which took place Wednesday and was led virtually by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, the official said DOD was impressed by support packages pledged for Ukraine. 

"At this point, the United States is not the top donor to Ukraine when it comes to security assistance or economic assistance, for that matter. When you look at security assistance, we're actually the sixteenth in the world when it comes to percentage of [gross domestic product]," the official said. 

Some of the leading contributors include Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom, the official said. 

Troops sit around a table looking at laptops.
Global Sentinel
Global Sentinel participants from Ukraine, the U.S. and other nations work together to solve challenging space scenarios during Exercise Global Sentinel 2024 at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., Feb. 6, 2024. Other partner nations participating include Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and Thailand.
Photo By: Space Force Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman
VIRIN: 240207-X-VE588-1081

Finally, the official mentioned the cost of the war to Russia. 

Russia has probably spent up to $211 billion in direct financial outlays to equip, deploy, maintain and sustain operations in Ukraine. In terms of arms sales, the Ukraine war has cost Russia more than $10 billion in canceled or postponed arm sales. And, in terms of lost economic growth, the war has cost Russia $1.3 trillion in previously anticipated economic growth through 2026, the official said. 

DOD officials estimate at least 315,000 Russian forces have been either killed or wounded in the fight. Ukrainian forces have sunk, destroyed or damaged at least 20 medium-to-large Russian navy vessels, the official said. 

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