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Pentagon: Looming US government shutdown could disrupt Ukraine aid (updated)

The US’s potential government shutdown threatens to disrupt military aid and training to Ukraine.
Pentagon: Looming US government shutdown could disrupt Ukraine aid (updated)

US military aid and training for Ukrainian forces could be disrupted in the event of a US government shutdown, a Pentagon spokesperson warned on 19 September, CNN reports.

In the case of a shutdown, the Pentagon would retain the capability to tap into its own equipment reserves, the primary source of the gear supplied to Ukraine. This resource remains substantial, as the department holds billions of dollars in funding under the Presidential Drawdown Authority.

However, the distribution of this equipment and the continuous training of Ukrainian forces conducted by the United States may face potential disruptions. Pentagon spokesperson Chris Sherwood explained that these activities could be adversely affected due to personnel furloughs and the suspension of all non-essential activities related to US national security during a shutdown.

“Any impact on US support would come at a sensitive time in the conflict with Ukrainian troops in the midst of a critical counteroffensive against Russia,” CNN says.

A potential shutdown might also have repercussions on the delivery and execution of aid supplied through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, a program funding the production of key equipment such as Abrams tanks and training initiatives like F-16 pilot instruction.

Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Charlie Dietz said on 18 September that the United States is se to start the delivery of 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in the upcoming weeks, and anticipates the beginning of F-16-related language training for Ukrainian pilots “soon.”

According to CNN, the US government “appears to be barreling toward a shutdown” as the country’s lawmakers acknowledge that it’s unlikely that both chambers will have sufficient time to pass all 12 appropriations bills before the September 30 deadline.

Update: 

On 19 September, during the Ramstein-format meeting in Germany, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said refurbished American M1A1 Abrams tanks would soon arrive on the battlefield. A US official told the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity that the “tanks would be in Ukraine within days.”

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