Without U.S. aid, Ukraine cannot defend its current lines, let alone liberate more territory, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned on Sunday, shortly after Kyiv’s troops were forced to withdraw from the eastern city of Avdiivka amid a severe ammunition shortage. Yet the House Republican leadership is still refusing to consider, much less pass, further security assistance funding for Kyiv.

There is, however, a way Washington could help hold Ukraine over until Congress gets its act together. While the administration has declared it’s “out of money” for Ukraine aid, it retains the authority to give Kyiv over $4 billion worth of materiel from U.S. stocks. The administration has declined to tap this authority because it’s out of funding to replace the donated equipment. But there are key weapons America could send now without compromising U.S. military readiness.

Ukraine is suffering from a shortage of men and materiel, particularly artillery ammunition. Congress’ monthslong delay in passing supplemental aid funding has exacerbated this challenge. Yet after rejecting an aid bill passed by the Senate earlier this month, House Speaker Mike Johnson appears to be in no rush to tackle the issue. It could be months before a bill reaches the president’s desk. Ukraine can’t afford to wait that long.

Since Russia’s February 2022 invasion, Washington has relied on presidential drawdown authority, or PDA, as its primary vehicle for Ukraine aid. PDA allows the administration to give foreign partners weapons taken from existing U.S. stocks, expediting delivery. Through PDA, the United States has provided Kyiv with regular shipments of artillery ammunition, air defense interceptors and other critical capabilities.

Normally, the Pentagon replaces equipment donated under PDA by procuring new systems or munitions, which the military receives within months or at most a year or two. In 2022 and 2023, Congress provided both additional PDA for Ukraine as well as funding to replace the donated equipment.

However, the PDA packages for Ukraine ground to a halt in late December. The issue isn’t a lack of PDA itself; the administration can still donate around $4.2 billion worth of weapons. Rather, as the Office of Management and Budget’s director explained, the administration made a “very tough decision” to forgo the remaining PDA because the Pentagon has run out of money to buy replacement equipment.

The Defense Department presumably worries, despite its $850 billion-plus annual budgets, that continued donations within this $4 billion limit could jeopardize U.S. military readiness, absent assured replacement funding.

The administration is obviously right to prioritize American warfighters. But the U.S. military’s vast inventories contain plenty of things that wouldn’t be missed by American troops but would be a godsend to Ukraine. The Pentagon could afford to wait to replace these items — if it bothers to replace them at all.

Most notably, the United States could probably spare some more cluster munitions for Ukraine’s Western-made artillery systems. Known as dual-purpose improved conventional munitions, or DPICM, these rounds release dozens of smaller sub-munitions, increasing lethality. The Biden administration first provided 155mm DPICM rounds to Ukraine last summer as Western stocks of standard shells ran low. Ukrainian forces have since employed these munitions to great effect.

While it’s unclear how many DPICM rounds Kyiv has already received, the United States probably has a lot left. America’s DPICM inventory reportedly totaled nearly 3 million rounds as of spring 2023. Some of those munitions may be expired or otherwise unsuitable for Ukraine, but a considerable portion is probably still available.

It’s doubtful sending Ukraine more now would harm U.S. readiness. Pentagon policy discourages U.S. commanders from using DPICMs, particularly those with a dud rate greater than 1%, which are supposed to be retired from service.

In addition to shells, Ukraine needs more protected mobility. Even outdated vehicles like the humble M113 armored personnel carrier could offer significant value if provided in sufficient quantities. M113s play a key role in evacuating wounded Ukrainian soldiers and moving forces around the battlefield, but Kyiv needs more of these vehicles. Absent enough armored vehicles, Ukrainian troops must rely on civilian alternatives that provide little protection against Russian artillery and other threats.

The U.S. Army has thousands of M113s in long-term storage and is actively replacing those still in service. Sending a significant number of them to Ukraine would prevent avoidable casualties. That’s especially important at a time when Kyiv needs to husband its scarce manpower.

To be clear, this stopgap solution would not obviate the need for Congress to pass additional security assistance funding. It would merely buy time. U.S. assistance for Ukraine will not be sustainable without that funding, and there’s a limit to what America should provide without assured replacements.

Administration officials may chafe at having to explain how they’re able to resume aid despite being “out of money.” They may also fear weakening — if only slightly — the pressure on House Republicans to pass the supplemental. But those are poor reasons not to take a simple step that would save Ukrainian lives.

Ukrainian troops are fighting not only for their freedom but also vital U.S. interests. America cannot afford to leave them out to dry indefinitely.

John Hardie is deputy director of the Russia Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, where retired Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery is a senior fellow.

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