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Kiev eventually needs to foot the bill for some weapons shipments, a US Assistant Defense Secretary has said

Ukraine should eventually step in to cover the costs of some weapons it receives from its Western backers, the US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Celeste Wallander, told Congress on Tuesday.

Speaking at a House Appropriations Committee hearing, Rep. Michael Garcia (R-Calif.) said that it would be important for the US to initiate foreign military sales to Ukraine, rather than providing Kiev with arms for free, claiming that it “would go a long way with American taxpayers.”

Wallander responded that while the Ukrainians had actually bought some weapons themselves, they “haven’t done any big figure procurement from American companies.”

“They don’t have that scale of capability in their budget right now… but it’s a very good point that we also need to transition them to start their own defense spending planning as well as everything else we will do to support them,” she said.

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Republicans push to end Ukraine aid

Since the start of the Ukraine conflict more than one year ago, the US has committed to support Kiev with more than $31.7 billion in security assistance, including M1 Abrams tanks, hundreds of artillery pieces and thousands of anti-aircraft systems. Russia has repeatedly warned that arms shipments to Ukraine will only prolong the conflict.

While US President Joe Biden has vowed to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes,” that stance has faced some opposition, especially from the Republican Party. Earlier this month, a group of GOP lawmakers put forward the “Ukraine Fatigue Resolution” calling on Washington to “end its military and financial aid to Ukraine” while urging “all combatants to reach a peace agreement.”

Late last year, Republicans introduced a resolution spearheaded by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, calling for an audit of US aid to Ukraine. However, it was narrowly defeated in the House of Representatives in early December.

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