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Pentagon warns government shutdown could disrupt US military aid to Ukraine

Pentagon warns government shutdown could disrupt US military aid to Ukraine

(CNN) — A Pentagon spokesman warned on Tuesday that a US government shutdown could halt US military aid and training for Ukrainian forces.

In the event of a shutdown, the Pentagon would access the equipment from its own stockpile, where most of the equipment shipped to Ukraine comes from, as the department still has billions of dollars in funding under the Presidential Cuts Order.

But the delivery of that equipment, as well as US training of Ukrainian forces, “could be affected by personnel layoffs and suspensions of the Department of Defense,” a shutdown of all operations deemed non-essential to US national security, Pentagon spokesman Chris Sherwood explained this Tuesday.

Any shift in U.S. support would come at a delicate time in the conflict, with Ukrainian troops in the midst of a critical counteroffensive against Russia.

Politics reported First about Sherwood’s comments.

A shutdown could affect the delivery and implementation of aid provided under another program called the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). It funded the production of key equipment such as Abrams tanks and training programs such as F-16 pilot training.

The United States is ready to deliver 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in the coming weeks and will “soon” begin training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 codes, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Charlie Dietz said Monday.

“Work or delivery of any equipment funded in previous USAI announcements, such as F-16 pilot training, will continue, but performance may be affected by Department of Defense furloughs and suspension of non-exempt operations.” Sherwood said.

In the event of a shutdown, the Pentagon cannot sign new contracts with defense companies to provide additional equipment under USAI.

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“The department has announced all available USAI funds, so there cannot be any new USAI announcements until additional appropriations are enacted,” Sherwood said.

The Pentagon last week issued guidance on how the U.S. military would continue to operate in the event of a government shutdown, and missions and activities not deemed critical to U.S. national security would cease, with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin able to make exceptions to that policy. “any time.”

Sep. 30 to pass all 12 appropriations bills before the deadline, Sept. The US government has begun a shutdown as lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties agree there may not be enough time before the 30 deadline. Meanwhile, the House and Senate must find a short-term solution that would give them more time to negotiate, but it’s unclear whether they can do so.