Russia launched a new wave of attacks on the town of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine, as the White House said it was running out of funds for Kyiv and failure to approve more would “kneecap” Ukrainian troops on the battlefield.
“I want to be clear: Without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from US military stocks,” Shalanda Young, director of the White House office of management and budget, wrote to leaders of the US Congress.
“There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money – and nearly out of time,” she added. “Cutting off the flow of US weapons and equipment will kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield, not only putting at risk the gains Ukraine has made, but increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories.”
US president Joe Biden asked Congress in October for some $106 billion (about €97.5 billion) to help Ukraine, Israel and fund US border security, with more than half the sum earmarked for a country that has been fighting a full-scale Russian invasion since February 2022.
Right-wing Republicans blocked approval of the package and have become increasingly hostile to plans to keep supporting Ukraine, even though firms in the states that many of them represent are receiving billion-dollar contracts for arms and other equipment.
“This isn’t a next-year problem,” Ms Young wrote. “The time to help a democratic Ukraine fight against Russian aggression is right now. It is time for Congress to act.”
She said Ukraine also needed continued financial aid to prop up an economy that has been devastated by Russia’s invasion, and faces further damage during what is expected to be a second winter of heavy missile and drone strikes on its power grid and other infrastructure.
Ukraine’s military said it shot down 18 of 23 attack drones and one missile fired by Russia early on Monday, as Moscow’s artillery and ground forces stepped up efforts to seize the devastated industrial town of Avdiivka.
“Today heavy artillery fire has already begun, using shells and rockets, and there is a great deal of mortar fire. And, of course, assault operations on top of that. Yesterday and today there were many times more of those than in previous days,” Vitaliy Barabash, head of the Avdiivka administration, said on Monday morning.
Russian forces were attacking Avdiivka in a “third wave” from several directions, but not using many armoured vehicles due to wet weather, he added.
“They are most likely waiting for more favourable weather conditions to use [armoured] equipment in these areas again on the same scale as they did in the two previous waves,” Mr Barabash told Ukrainian television.
Moscow says its forces are in a strong position on all fronts, but on Monday announced the death in combat of Maj Gen Vladimir Zavadsky, deputy commander of Russia’s 14th Army Corps. He is at least the seventh Russian major general to be killed in Ukraine.
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