US President Joe Biden called on Congress Thursday to allocate another $24 billion to the war in Ukraine. The “supplemental funding request” would include $14.1 billion in direct military aid, plus $8.5 billion in economic payouts.
To date, Congress has approved $113 billion in spending on the war, including $70 billion directly on weapons.
The Ukraine war has unleashed a level of bloodletting unseen in Europe since the Second World War. Approximately 50,000 Ukrainians have lost limbs in the conflict, indicating, based on the ratio of casualties to deaths, that hundreds of thousands have been killed.
The tens of billions more that Biden is planning to send will be used to perpetuate what is a mass slaughter of already historic proportions, with total indifference to the lives of the Ukrainian population, which US imperialism sees as cannon fodder.
The request, taking the form of a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, stated:
First, the president has reaffirmed that we will stand with Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty for as long as it takes, a strategy that has successfully united our allies and partners and equipped Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression. Previous supplemental appropriations for direct military aid, economic and humanitarian assistance, and other support have been committed or nearly committed. The administration is requesting supplemental security, economic, and humanitarian assistance funding that would support Ukraine.
Beyond this paragraph, the letter includes no explanation of why the money is needed or what will be done with it.
In a press briefing Thursday, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder reiterated that the United States would continue to fund the war “as long as it takes.”
“When it comes, broadly speaking, to support for Ukraine, I would say that as we have said in the past, we will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Ryder said.
The massive new spending proposal comes as the magnitude of the military debacle in Ukraine is becoming clear. In an article published this week, the New York Times admitted the existence of a unit whose entire composition was either killed or injured three times over, and thus had to be replaced three times.
The Times wrote: “The heavy losses were not a shock to them. Most of the commanders said that they had seen units, including their own, decimated at times during the past 16 months of fighting. The battalion commander, Oleksandr, said that casualties were so high during the counteroffensive in Kherson last year that he had been forced to replace the members of his unit three times.”
Increasingly frank statements are appearing in the US media about the disastrous situation confronting the Ukrainian military and the total failure of its counteroffensive. CNN reported this week that US allies have received “sobering” assessments about Ukraine’s ability to capture any more territory.
“They’re still going to see, for the next couple of weeks, if there is a chance of making some progress. But for them to really make progress that would change the balance of this conflict, I think, it’s extremely unlikely,” one “senior western diplomat” told CNN.
The diplomat added that “Russians have several defensive lines and the [Ukrainian forces] haven’t really broken through the first one.” He continued, “Even if they continue fighting for the next several weeks, if they haven’t been able to make more breakthroughs in the past seven or eight weeks, what is the likelihood that they will suddenly, with more depleted forces, succeed? Because the conditions are so challenging.”
Picking up on a similar theme, The Hill carried a report entitled “Alarm grows as Ukraine’s counteroffensive falters,” which warned that “There is growing alarm about the pace and prospects of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, with few signs of progress in recent weeks and Russian lines holding strong.”
The article cited Sen. Tommy Tuberville, who compared the Ukrainian military to “a junior high team playing a college team,” adding, “They can’t win.”
Russian officials have claimed that Ukraine has lost tens of thousands of soldiers in the offensive, adding to the hundreds of thousands that have likely died in the war so far. Ukraine has lost dozens of tanks and armored vehicles supplied by the US and its allies in the latest offensive.
Under these conditions, there is growing pressure on the United States and NATO to escalate their involvement in the conflict to stave off a potential Ukrainian collapse.
In June, former NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen raised the prospect that NATO members would deploy “troops on the ground” in Ukraine.
Rasmussen said at the time, “If NATO cannot agree on a clear path forward for Ukraine, there is a clear possibility that some countries individually might take action. We know that Poland is very engaged in providing concrete assistance to Ukraine. And I wouldn’t exclude the possibility that Poland would engage even stronger in this context on a national basis and be followed by the Baltic states, maybe including the possibility of troops on the ground.”
He continued, “I think the Poles would seriously consider going in and assembling a coalition of the willing.”
These words give an ominous tone to the ongoing buildup of Polish troops now occurring on its border with Belarus, whose government is allied with Russia in the present conflict.
On Thursday, Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said the country would deploy 10,000 troops to the border, just one day after he announced that Poland would be sending 2,000 troops to the same area.
“It will be about 10,000 soldiers, 4,000 of whom will be directly engaged in border police support operations and 6,000 others as reinforcements,” Błaszczak told Polish public radio.
Highlighting the surge of troops to the eastern borders of the military alliance, NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said Monday, “NATO has significantly increased its defensive presence in the eastern part of the alliance in response to Russia’s aggressive actions, and we continue to do what is necessary to deter any threat and protect every inch of allied territory.”