U.S. Delegation Pressing France For More Ukraine Aid

Emmanuel Macron

Credit: LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

LE BOURGET—A group of U.S. lawmakers will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron to urge France to increase its support for Ukraine, while also assuring him and other European leaders that the U.S. will support Kyiv long-term.

A congressional delegation arrived at the Paris Air Show here on June 19 to meet with French officials and industry leaders on several issues, but the most pressing is continuing support for Ukraine amid its long-awaited counteroffensive against Russia. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) says the delegation met with officials from France’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Defense to thank them for their support of Ukraine while urging more. 

“While we came here to make certain that Europe and others contribute more to the cause for Ukraine, that they increase their capabilities and commitment to Ukraine, European countries across this continent, I also discovered that a role that we’re playing is reassuring those Europeans that the United States is assisting Ukraine for the long haul,” says Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are set to begin deliberations on the fiscal 2024 defense policy bill, which will likely include an additional measure to increase spending for Ukraine defense. As part of a deal between President Joe Biden and Congress to raise the debt limit last month, the agreement set the Defense Department’s spending level for 2024 at $886 billion, the amount Biden requested. Any additional spending for military aid for Ukraine above that level will require a supplemental measure. 

Moran says he supports such a measure, with an eye beyond Ukraine’s current fight. 

“What happens in Ukraine has huge consequence in the South Pacific,” he says, adding that current American support for Ukraine will hint at how the U.S. would support Taiwan. 

Passing a Ukraine supplemental could be a slippery slope toward additional spending outside of that specific area, says Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.). For years, Congress approved a fund for additional Pentagon spending under an overseas contingency operations account that was supposed to be targeted for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In this case, “Congress can’t help itself” and will likely use a Ukraine supplemental to tack on additional spending that would not make it in the original defense policy and spending bills, Larsen says.

Brian Everstine

Brian Everstine is the Pentagon Editor for Aviation Week, based in Washington, D.C. Before joining Aviation Week in August 2021, he covered the Pentagon for Air Force Magazine. Brian began covering defense aviation in 2011 as a reporter for Military Times.