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There's a Big Problem with Sending Weapons to Ukraine

AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

In helping Ukraine defend itself in its war with Russia, the United States has been generous, to say the least. According to the Defense Department's latest figures, the Biden administration has given $3.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24. This includes 25,000 antiaircraft weapons, 60,000 anti-tank weapons, counter-artillery radars, jamming equipment, ammunition, small arms, body armor, and more. 

All this assistance has come at a cost—and not just a financial one.  

Concerns are mounting that U.S. stockpiles are being depleted in the process. 

When asked whether the Biden administration is doing enough to help Ukraine, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) said no, and then evaluated their efforts

"Well, the short answer is no, but I think their efforts can fall into categories of good, bad, and ugly. On the good, I think Secretary Austin made the right call in going to Kyiv, talking directly with Zelensky, and really for the first time talking as if he believes the Ukrainians can win," he said. "I think that is the right signal to send to our allies. It's also right to send the signal that we want Russia to be permanently hobbled by this misadventure of unprovoked aggression. So that's good." 

The bad part, Gallagher argued, is that Biden keeps announcing what the U.S. won't do. 

"And putting arbitrary limits on our assistance, I think, undermines our effort," he said. 

The worst part of all, however, is the stockpile problem. 

"The real ugly is that we are running low in terms of our stockpiles," Gallagher cautioned. "We just burned through seven years' worth of Javelins, and that's not only important as we continue to try and help the Ukrainians win in Ukraine, that's important as we try to simultaneously defend Taiwan from aggression from the Chinese Communist Party. They're going to need access to some of these same weapons systems, and we simply don't have the stockpiles at present in order to backfill what we've spent in Ukraine." 

Equally concerning is that "pandemic-driven shortages of computer chips, rocket motors, propellant and labor" are making replenishing that supply difficult. 

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