What $34 billion buys and does not buy for Ukraine

James Hydzik


02/04/2024 - 20:56

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Bipartisan support for approving an aid package for Ukraine is firming up. We look at what this aid could mean for Ukraine.

What $34 billion buys and does not buy for Ukraine

American funding for Ukraine’s self-defense seems to be green-lighted in Washington. Leaders in the Republican party’s majority in the House of Representatives have been speaking with the press regarding the need to support Ukraine as the defense takes a crucial turn. In particular, House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-OH), spoke with Meet the Press on March 31 to discuss the possible timing and the probability of the aid package being passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President before the two-week break begins on April 22.

Current reports place the total aid package for Ukraine at about $60 billion. Of this, $34 billion would be earmarked for military expenditures. David Axe, writing in Forbes, compares this with the $45 billion already spent by the U.S. in the first 24 months of the war. Axe asserts that of that $45 billion, roughly half was directly used by the Department of Defense to replace equipment donated to Ukraine by the armed forces. Most of the rest was used by the Pentagon to purchase equipment for Ukraine.

Ukraine aid - what goes where

How the aid in the new package will be disbursed and utilized is still an open question in terms of the non-military aid. Rep. Turner referred to this in his interview with Meet the Press on March 31. He told interviewer Ed O’Keefe that, “… certainly there have been discussions about the manner in which the non-military, humanitarian aid is structured.”

The aid already earmarked for military expenditures is further broken down into training, systems procurement and maintenance, and ammunition. The last is particularly important given the vital role artillery fills in this war. After the first phase of the broad-scale invasion was over and the fighting shifted away from Kyiv, the Ukrainian army’s success on the along the front line has been to a degree determined by how many shells it can fire in a day.

Counting shells

Axe predicts that American shell manufacturers can “ramp up to producing 60,000 shells a month on their way to producing 100,000 shells a month within nine months” and deliver 1 million 155mm shells. He sees this coming in addition to “the hundreds of thousands of shells that the European Union is donating to Ukraine in the coming weeks and months” as well as the Czech-led effort to source $1.5 billion in artillery shells from around the world.

The Ukrainian army has raised its rate of fire, as shells seem to be on their way. But the one thing this package cannot buy is time, and if Rep. Turner is wrong and the approval of the House bill is delayed, the ‘critical moment’ could turn into a ‘critical period’ very quickly.


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