The Pentagon has determined that the training and support of Ukrainian forces is exempt from a potential government shutdown, according to the Defense Department, and will continue even in the increasingly likely event that Congress fails to pass a spending bill in the coming days.
The determination allows critical elements of American support for Kyiv, such as the training of Ukrainian forces and the ongoing transfer of weapons to Ukraine, to proceed in the midst of an ongoing counteroffensive.
“Operation Atlantic Resolve is an excepted activity under a government lapse in appropriations,” said Defense Department spokesman Chris Sherwood. Operation Atlantic Resolve refers to the US effort to support Ukraine and to bolster NATO’s eastern flank. It was established in 2014 following the Russian invasion of Crimea.
But as recently as Tuesday, Sherwood had cautioned that a government shutdown could disrupt US aid to Ukraine, warning that the delivery of equipment and the US training efforts “could be impacted by furloughs of personnel and DoD’s suspension” of activities deemed not essential to US national security.
Politico first reported on the designation.
With prospects growing of a potential government shutdown, a disruption to US support and training for Ukraine would have come at a critical juncture, with US M1A1 Abrams tanks set to arrive on the battlefield soon and Ukrainian pilots about to start a training program for F-16 fighter jets.
The decision to shield the US military’s operations related to Ukraine from the effects of a possible shutdown come as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Washington, DC, meeting with President Joe Biden, as well as top leaders at the Pentagon.