U.S. ‘Military Aid’ to Ukraine at $54 Billion as Media Calls for More

by | May 26, 2022 | News

As the Russia-Ukraine war continues, U.S. media echoes calls from Ukrainian officials for more weapons. The total U.S. spending on Ukraine has reached $54 billion, with largely bipartisan support on aid packages from U.S. lawmakers.

CNBC described the latest legislation President Joe Biden signed on Saturday for another $40 billion in weapons and aid to Ukraine during the fourth month of the Russian invasion. The legislation was passed with bipartisan support, and “deepens the U.S. commitment to Ukraine.” The bill includes $20 billion in “military assistance,” which CNBC said will ensure “a steady stream of advanced weapons that have been used to blunt Russia’s advances.”

The New York Times noted the speed with which this “emergency military and humanitarian aid package” was swept into law. “The lopsided vote, with just 11 senators in opposition — all Republicans — reflected the remarkable bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for a massive investment in Ukraine’s war effort.” In Congress, the leaders of both parties “raised few questions about how much money was being spent or what it would be used for,” in contrast to gridlock on recent years’ domestic initiatives — such as on pandemic response and for $28 million to address the nationwide baby formula shortage.

CNBC listed in April the arms being sent in the then-latest “military aid package” of $800 million. At the time, this was the eighth installment of weapons shipments, amounting to a mere $3.4 billion. CNBC let Pentagon spokesman John Kirby describe the included “Phoenix Ghost” drones, which he said were “rapidly developed by the Air Force, in response, specifically to Ukrainian requirements.”

CNBC detailed other items in this “security package” accompanied by close-up images of the military hardware and soldiers operating them during training exercises. Included among the images is a stylized photograph of a solider standing with a Switchblade 600 done, provided by the U.S. weapons manufacturer AeroVironment. The firm, its name linked to its CNBC profile and Nasdaq listing, also provided footage of the Switchblade drone in action.

This April weapons package also included Javelin portable anti-armor weapons, which were “high on the wishlists” of the Ukrainian military and produced by “defense giants”  Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

Ukrainian leaders are continuing requests for the U.S. and NATO allies to send modern multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), with Newseek saying these artillery systems “have risen to the top of the Ukrainian shopping list.” The outlet shared a tweet by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense showing a video of a Russian barrage, saying “Ukraine is ready to strike back. To do this, we need NATO-style MLRS. Immediately.” Newsweek explained how American missile launchers would “allow Ukrainians to target more Russian artillery batteries and attackers at longer ranges.”

Some American lawmakers are “agitating for action on MLRS,” said Newsweek, concluding with a call to action by Oleksandr Merezhko, chair of the Ukrainian parliament’s foreign affairs committee: “The very fact that our diplomats raise this issue indicates that there are strong chances to get MLRS,” Merezhko said. “I suppose it might happen…The U.S. often takes the lead in providing us with military aid, and to other states it serves as a good example to follow.”

Politico reported that a Biden administration official cited concern in the White House that providing these advanced, destructive weapons would be interpretated as escalation by Moscow. Russia’s “battlefield humiliation” and “string of failed offensives” combined with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unpredictability “could move the needle closer to Russia resorting to the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.” Still, according to Politico, “Ukrainian officials are growing frustrated with the Biden administration’s resistance.”

For the Wall Street Journal, Seth Cropsey wrote “The U.S. Should Show It Can Win a Nuclear War,” claiming, “The reality is that unless the U.S. prepares to win a nuclear war, it risks losing one” and suggesting the U.S. “recalibrate its strategic logic for a nuclear environment.”  Dave Lindorff examined Cropsey’s arguments, citing the duty of officers in the Russian and U.S. military to “make a launch decision on their own,” potentially resulting in a commander’s choice to “launch as many of his missiles as he can before his ship is destroyed.”

 

Image by Frauke Riether / Pixabay

 

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