Powerful weapons the US sent to Ukraine are breaking down — but the Pentagon says it can’t help fix them

  • US aid for Ukraine has been blocked since Republicans voted down a security package in December.

  • It means the US can’t repair weapons it sent to Ukraine, the Pentagon’s press secretary said.

  • Ukraine has had to scale back its war effort since US support started drying up.

The Pentagon said that US weapons are faltering in Ukraine because it can’t help the Ukrainians repair them.

The hold-up is because Congress has withheld extra funding for Ukraine — which blocks not only new aid, but also ongoing support for what’s already there.

Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder commented on the development during a press briefing on Tuesday.

Ryder explained that at this time, the US can’t help Ukraine “sustain systems that we’ve previously provided to them.”

He didn’t give specifics about what weapons were in need of support that the US couldn’t provide.

Last year, the US military led a team to help Ukrainian forces with repairs while fighting on the front lines over the phone and via video chats.

From a facility in Poland, the team made up of soldiers, civilians, and contractors from the US and its allies gave Ukrainian forces on the front lines hardware support in real time.

But repair assistance can’t be provided without further aid from Congress, Ryder said.

“And so, again, we will continue to work closely with Congress and urge supplemental funding as soon as possible,” he said.

The US presented a proposal for further security assistance for Ukraine to Congress on December 6.

But Republicans voted down the plan, demanding stricter measures at the US-Mexico border first.

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby warned that without new approvals its ability to support Ukraine would dry up.

It wasn’t immediate — the Biden administration still had $4.4 billion in presidential drawdown authority aid at the time, Ryder said.

But the effects are being felt more and more: dwindling supplies, shrinking ammunition stocks, and Ukrainian troops having to scale back military operations on the front lines.

During an interview with Business Insider last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that a lack of Western support would lead to a shortage of artillery, a “very large” shortage of air-defense missiles, and a lot of killings and injuries.

“Ukraine will struggle, Ukraine will be weaker, and this will be an opportunity for Russia to invade us,” Zelenskyy told BI in the interview, a group conversation that also featured other outlets.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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