US defence chief Austin visits Kyiv to push continued assist for Ukraine | EUROtoday

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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made an unannounced go to to Kyiv on Monday in a high-profile push to maintain cash and weapons flowing to Ukraine whilst U.S. and worldwide sources are stretched by the brand new world dangers raised by the Israel-Hamas battle.

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Austin, who traveled to Kyiv by prepare from Poland, is scheduled to satisfy with senior Ukrainian officers and publicly press Ukraine’s pressing army wants because it enters one other powerful winter of preventing.

This is Austin’s second journey to Kyiv, however he’s making it below far totally different circumstances. His first go to occurred in April 2022, simply two months after Russia’s large-scale invasion. At the time, Ukraine was driving a wave of worldwide rage at Moscow’s invasion, and Austin launched a world effort that now sees 50 nations meet month-to-month to coordinate on what weapons, coaching and different assist could possibly be pushed to Kyiv.

“I’m here today to deliver an important message — the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine in their fight for freedom against Russia’s aggression, both now and into the future,” Austin posted on X, previously generally known as Twitter.

But the battle in Gaza may pull consideration and sources from the Ukraine battle. The U.S. has labored feverishly because the Oct. 7 assaults by Hamas on Israel, and the weeks of devastating bombardment on Gaza by Israel that has adopted, killing greater than 10,000 civilians, to maintain these assaults from turning right into a regional conflict.

The U.S. has already dedicated two service strike teams, scores of fighter jets and 1000’s of U.S. personnel to the Middle East, and has needed to shift its drive posture and conduct airstrikes towards Iranian-backed militant teams who are actually hitting U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria frequently.

To date, Ukraine has acquired greater than $44 billion from the U.S. and greater than $35 billion from different allies in weapons, starting from hundreds of thousands of bullets to air protection programs, superior European and U.S. battle tanks and, lastly, pledges for F-16 fighter jets.

But Ukraine nonetheless wants extra, and after nearly 20 months of delivery arms to Ukraine, cracks are starting to indicate. Some European nations corresponding to Poland have scaled again assist, noting their want to take care of ample preventing skill to defend themselves.

Ukrainian officers have strongly pushed again on options it’s in a stalemate with Russia after a long-awaited counteroffensive over the summer season didn’t transform the battle traces on the bottom. In a go to to Washington final week, Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s workplace, supplied no particulars however confirmed that Ukrainian forces had lastly pushed by way of to the east financial institution of the Dnieper River, which has primarily served because the immovable entrance line between Ukrainian and Russian forces for months.

However, as winter units in it should turn into tougher for both facet to make giant positive factors as a consequence of floor circumstances. That may additional work towards Ukraine if U.S. lawmakers understand there’s time to attend earlier than extra funds are wanted.

Further complicating the assist is that the Pentagon has solely a dwindling amount of cash left on this 12 months’s funds to maintain sending weapons to Ukraine, and Congress is months late on getting a brand new funds handed and has not taken up a supplemental spending bundle that would come with Ukraine assist.

Since the conflict started in February 2022, the U.S. has supplied greater than $44.2 billion in weapons to Ukraine, however the funding is almost gone. The Pentagon can ship about $5 billion extra in weapons and gear from its personal shares. But it solely has about $1 billion in funding to interchange these shares. As a outcome, latest bulletins of weapons assist have been of a lot smaller greenback quantities than in months previous.