I want to start with the key decision made after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's speech in Congress.
Even this year, there was a desire to pass a budget in the U.S. Congress which provides a record $45 billion in aid to Ukraine. This amount is budgeted for next year. And there was a lot of controversy about whether the current Congress would be able to pass this budget.
This is important to understand in the context that almost all Republicans voted against this budget, and only because the Democrats still hold the majority in the House of Representatives was it approved.
Ukraine has a guarantee of assistance in 2023
This means that Ukraine has a guarantee of assistance in 2023. And there will be no more disputes about whether there will be this assistance or not, as happens almost every year when it comes time to pass the U.S. government’s budget, where in this particular situation, Ukraine was very dependent on it. Therefore, it was key that the budget was passed.
Regarding the defense budget. U.S. President Joe Biden signed a record $858 billion defense budget for 2023. Everything is connected with the war in Ukraine. The U.S. has clearly and unequivocally stated that it will do everything to help Ukraine, and all the increase in aid is related to this. It includes aid directly to Ukraine (ammunition and various types of weapons), as well as aid to Ukraine's neighbors and NATO countries which are helping Ukraine to survive and win this war. It is also includes help for the U.S. defense industry, which will produce weapons and ammunition for Ukraine. as well.
We know that no country itself, nor even NATO or the U.S., has enough ammunition. No one expected such a long and difficult war. Therefore, now the entire defense industry, both in NATO countries and in the U.S., must prepare and start actively providing their arsenals with additional weapons in order to replenish stocks.
We get new information about the allocation of additional money almost every week. Therefore, what is provided for in the defense budget is only part of the whole process. When President Zelenskyy came, almost $2 billion was added. This extra money is coming in all the time, which is why we cannot clearly say what will come to Ukraine and when. First, this information is secret. It is made public after the deliveries have already taken place (so as not to risk them). Secondly, the American and Ukrainian military have already found a common language, and as many resources are given as possible.
President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, of course, want more, and the country needs more. So far, for example, there are no questions on the provision of aircraft or the most advanced tanks. But there is news about the provision of the Patriot air defense system. This is already huge progress.
Therefore, over time, as Ukraine shows its responsibility and progress in its war with Russia, we also see progress in the readiness of partner countries to provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs.
I am asked whether there is a feeling that Russia's war against Ukraine has become a catalyst for the development of the U.S. military industry. I will say that the military-industrial complex in the U.S. has never felt bad. In the U.S., a lot of money is allocated to the defense industry, as the U.S. fights in many wars and maintains security in many critical areas of the world. That is why the U.S. defense industry has been one of the priorities, so it is not necessary to say that they have seriously reoriented in connection with Russia's war against Ukraine.
What actually happened? No one has ever fought with Russia. This lesson is definitely very important. Because now it is clear what weapons are needed, what level of training is required, what Russia is fighting with, and how to fight back against them, but the U.S. is now studying all this for sure. And they understand that weapons which may already be a little outdated in the U.S. are now effective for the war in Ukraine. They are sending some weapons to this war, and they will make new technologies. That is, this war is a lesson. And not only for the U.S., but also for NATO. For example, it became clear that NATO countries do not have enough ammunition if a war were to come to their territory. It is also a lesson in communication, coordination, and security of the entire democratic world.