In a letter, national security leaders recommend Biden administration prioritize critical weapons and support already being used by Ukrainian Armed Forces to repel Russian military
WASHINGTON – Top Senate and House Republicans today urged Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to make quick and decisive use of emergency funds provided by Congress to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces against the unwarranted and unprovoked Russian invasion.
Last week, Congress passed H.R. 2471, which included an emergency supplemental that includes $3 billion in direct authority and funding for the United States to deliver additional military aid to Ukraine – approximately double what the Biden Asdministration requested.
In a letter sent after President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on Tuesday, U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and U.S. Representatives Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Michael McCaul (R-Texas), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Michael Turner (R-Ohio), ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, recommended this new emergency funding be directed to key weapons and equipment that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have already been using to great effect – such as additional Stinger missile systems, Javelin anti-tank command launch units and missiles, grenade launchers and ammunition, small arms and ammunition, and secure communications.
“We write to urge the Departments of Defense and State to rapidly exercise the authority Congress provided in the omnibus appropriations bill to provide a robust package of lethal and nonlethal aid to Ukraine based on assessed and anticipated military efficacy,” the members wrote. “This will ensure Ukraine’s military and security forces remain armed and provisioned to sustain their successful attempts to repel and disrupt Russia’s illegal, unprovoked, and unprecedented invasion.
“Given the way the conflict is progressing, and in light of insights gleaned since Russia began its invasion, we call upon the Departments to make use of the emergency funding without delay,” the letter continues.
Full text of the letter can be found here or below:
Dear Secretary Austin and Secretary Blinken:
We write to urge the Departments of Defense and State to rapidly exercise the authority Congress provided in the omnibus appropriations bill to provide a robust package of lethal and nonlethal aid to Ukraine based on assessed and anticipated military efficacy. This will ensure Ukraine’s military and security forces remain armed and provisioned to sustain their successful attempts to repel and disrupt Russia’s illegal, unprovoked, and unprecedented invasion.
On March 10, Congress showed strong unified support to Ukraine by passing an emergency supplemental that includes $3 billion in direct authority and funding to deliver military aid—roughly double what the Administration requested—and approximately $14 billion in total to provide humanitarian aid and bolster the efforts of the United States and our allies to sustain Ukraine’s ability to defend itself while also deterring against Russia expanding its aggression. Given the way the conflict is progressing, and in light of insights gleaned since Russia began its invasion, we call upon the Departments to make use of the emergency funding without delay.
Over the past two weeks, we have witnessed numerous open sources reporting that U.S. military assistance, including defensive lethal aid, continues to reach Ukrainian Armed Forces units, and that those units have successfully employed them to repel and inhibit Russian advances. This has been particularly evident for anti-tank and anti-air weapons systems. The expenditure rate for such munitions is high. As the invasion drags on, Russia will reorganize, resupply, consolidate its forces, and modify its tactics in an attempt to violently accelerate its advances. Ukrainian forces will likely have to expend munitions from these and other weapons at an increasing rate—meaning the need for restocking will only grow more urgent with each passing day.
Many of our allies have also made significant contributions to supplying Ukrainian efforts, including the provision of anti-tank and anti-air systems and large quantities of both ammunition and protective equipment. For these reasons, and for reasons we expand upon in a classified annex to this letter, Congress increased funding for our NATO Allies and partners who are not only making outsize contributions to Ukraine’s own defense, but who themselves are depleting their own stocks while in close proximity to Russian aggression.
In addition to the funding increases to directly support Ukraine’s continued defense and to backfill our stocks and those of our allies and partners, Congress also expanded the authority of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to enable previously authorized and appropriated USAI funding to be dedicated not only to conventional Ukrainian armed forces’ efforts, but also to organizations supporting resistance efforts as needed. Providing this expanded flexibility further illustrates Congress’s will to do everything we can to support Ukrainians defending their territory.
Given the heroic efforts and success Ukrainian armed forces have had employing specific weapons systems delivered by the U.S. and our allies and partners, as well as additional reasons articulated in the classified annex accompanying this letter, we recommend the Departments rapidly take the following actions, in priority order:
We look forward to continuing to work with you to support Ukraine’s defenses, bolster European and Transatlantic security, and deter Russia from expanding its reckless aggression any further.