White House to seek $16b in additional Ukraine aid

A Ukrainian artillery unit fires towards advancing Russian infantry from a front-line position near the town of Bakhmut, Ukraine, in August 2022. PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON - The White House will ask Congress to provide additional aid for Ukraine in the fiscal year that begins Oct 1, as officials warn that earlier monies are running out with the effort to combat Russia's invasion now past its six-month mark.

The administration is seeking US$11.7 billion (S$16.4 billion) in security and economic assistance for Ukraine in the first quarter of fiscal 2023, a senior administration official said on Friday, along with US$2 billion aimed at helping to prevent domestic energy costs from going up as Russian President Vladimir Putin squeezes supplies.

The administration also detailed its other spending priorities for the coming fiscal year, including additional funding to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

The White House will request US$22.4 billion for testing, to speed up the research and development of next generation vaccines, and to prepare for future variants.

The request comes as the US plans a September Covid-19 booster push with shots that are reformulated to deal with omicron variants.

Officials also are also seeking US$4.5 billion to fight the monkeypox outbreak.

Ukraine aid

The Ukraine-related funds are urgently needed, the official told reporters on Friday in a call detailing the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB's) priorities.

President Joe Biden in May signed legislation in May providing US$40 billion in aid to Ukraine. But those funds were only intended to last through September.

"To date, roughly three-quarters of the direct military and budgetary support that Congress previously provided for Ukraine has been disbursed or committed, with even more expected by the end of the fiscal year," OMB said in a release.

The funding request for the first quarter of fiscal year 2023 will seek US$7.2 billion for the Defence Department.

Of those funds, US$4.5 billion will be for equipment for Ukraine and to replenish the Pentagon's stocks, with US$2.7 billion for other military, intelligence, and defence support.

The White House is seeking US$4.5 billion for the State Department and USAID to continue support for Ukraine's government.

The US$2 billion energy-related request includes US$1.5 billion to for uranium to fuel US nuclear reactors with the aim of offsetting any decrease in Russian energy supplies, and US$500 million to modernise the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, according to the OMB. BLOOMBERG

Remote video URL

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.