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Pentagon Official Reports Critical Ammunition Shortage for Ukrainian Soldiers Amid U.S. Funding Delays

Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Bucha, where he talked to local residents and journalists.

As reported by Politico, Ukrainian soldiers are facing a critical shortage of ammunition and essential military equipment due to delays in U.S. funding, a Pentagon official revealed. Celeste Wallander, the Pentagon’s top official for international security affairs, emphasized the urgency of the situation in a briefing to reporters.

The current impasse stems from the Pentagon having exhausted the funds previously allocated by Congress for military aid to Ukraine. This includes the replenishment of U.S. stockpiles that were provided to Ukraine. A significant portion of the stalled funding is tied up in negotiations on Capitol Hill, where GOP demands for changes in U.S. border policy have delayed the approval of President Joe Biden’s request for approximately $60 billion in additional aid for Ukraine.

The latest assistance package for Ukraine, announced on December 27, encompassed $250 million in military aid, including artillery and air defenses. However, this amount falls short of the immediate needs of Ukrainian forces, who are engaged in intense combat with Russian forces.

Wallander’s comments followed a meeting of the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which comprises international military and defense chiefs dedicated to supporting Ukraine. She highlighted that the Department of Defense (DOD) had begun distributing aid in smaller packages in anticipation of funding shortages, but these measures are insufficient to meet Ukraine’s growing needs on the battlefield.

The Ukrainian government has expressed concern to the Pentagon about the dwindling ammunition supplies, which are critical for sustaining their defense efforts. The DOD is currently able to fulfill existing orders under contract through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, but this is on a much smaller scale compared to direct aid from U.S. stocks.

Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder also acknowledged the funding shortfall, noting its impact on the Pentagon’s ability to supply additional weapons and the long-term building and sustenance of Ukraine’s military capabilities.

Despite the challenging circumstances, there is a positive development in the international effort to provide F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. Several Ukrainian pilots are currently undergoing training in the U.S., with plans for Ukraine to begin operating the jets later in the year.