By Katabella Roberts
A group of 19 Republican lawmakers has called on the Biden administration to stop spending billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion.
In an April 20 letter (pdf) to President Joe Biden, the GOP Representatives and Senators shared their concerns that the trajectory of U.S. aid to Ukraine risks further escalating the war and lacks “much-needed strategic clarity.”
“Over the past year, the U.S. has been the principal financier of the Ukrainian defense effort. As the war enters its second year, there is no end in sight and no clear strategy to bring this war to a close. A proxy war with Russia in Ukraine is not in the strategic interest of the United States and risks an escalation that could spiral out of control,” they wrote.
The lawmakers pointed to Biden’s January announcement that the United States will send 31 M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine as the fighting continues. Officials have warned that it could take months to train Ukrainians to use the systems, which are complex to operate and maintain.
Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB), which Washington also pledged to send to Ukraine in February, will similarly take months to arrive, the lawmakers wrote, which they said suggests the administration plans to support Ukraine long-term.
Meanwhile, the decision to issue High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to Ukraine last June was seen as a “serious provocation” lawmakers wrote, noting that the weapons granted enhanced capabilities to Ukrainian soldiers.
‘Adamantly Oppose All Future Aid Packages’
“With every new aid package and every new weapon provided to Ukraine, the risk of direct conflict with Russia climbs,” they said.
“These announcements signal that your administration is settling in for a long-term conflict. The current strategy of sanctions and drawn-out aid will only prolong the conflict, leading to escalation and more violence. Our national and economic security demand an alternative. Unrestrained U.S. aid for Ukraine must come to an end, and we will adamantly oppose all future aid packages unless they are linked to a clear diplomatic strategy designed to bring this war to a rapid conclusion,” the lawmakers wrote.
Congress has approved over $113 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine since the war began over a year ago, becoming its largest benefactor.
“The contributions of our NATO allies pale in comparison. Beyond dollar value, there is also a stark difference in substance and motivation. As the U.S. is further indebting itself to provide tanks, air defense systems, missiles, and long-range rockets to a battlefield an ocean away, those with conflict at their borders have been content to send uniforms and personal protective equipment” the Republicans wrote. “Our allies condition their contributions of major military equipment on a corresponding U.S. commitment – all while calling for the U.S. to do more.”
The letter also took aim at Biden’s decision to send billions of dollars in foreign military aid while America’s own military “atrophies.” They accused the executive branch of using debt as a tool to finance foreign wars to the “detriment of the American taxpayer, noting that $27 billion of Washington’s aid to Kyiv is set aside for funding the Ukrainian government, repairing infrastructure, and granting food security.”
Meanwhile, the United States reached its technical debt limit of $31.4 trillion on Jan. 19, and the Treasury Department started taking so-called extraordinary measures to prevent what could be a first-ever default, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
‘An Endless War’
“To prop up a foreign government that is historically mired in corruption while the American people suffer from record inflation and a crippling national debt is wildly irresponsible on its own – but to do so while our military contends with aging weapons systems and depleted stockpiles is disgraceful,” the lawmakers wrote.
“There are appropriate ways in which the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people, but unlimited arms supplies in support of an endless war is not one of them. Our national interests, and those of the Ukrainian people, are best served by incentivizing the negotiations that are urgently needed to bring this conflict to a resolution,” the letter concludes. “We strongly urge you to advocate for a negotiated peace between the two sides, bringing this awful conflict to a close.”
The letter was signed by 19 Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah.), Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-K.Y.), and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.)
The letter comes as Ukraine’s military continues to prepare for a spring offensive, although officials in Washington are concerned that Kyiv may not be fully prepared as its army runs out of ammunition and have called for military supplies to be delivered faster.
Earlier this week, Kyiv finally received the America-made Patriot surface-to-air guided missile systems which Washington promised to send in October last year.
Those missile systems can target aircraft, cruise missiles, and shorter-range ballistic missiles and provide Ukraine with a major boost and long-sought new shield against Russian airstrikes that have devastated cities.