The American ambassador to NATO said on Tuesday that U.S. military assistance to Israel after the weekend attacks by Hamas assailants would not come at Ukraine’s expense.
The United States has committed around $45 billion in weapons and military aid to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, making it the single largest donor to the Ukrainian war effort.
But now, as officials and industry executives acknowledge that they are struggling to meet some of Ukraine’s war demands, the Biden administration is rushing to send air defenses and munitions to Israel.
That has raised questions as to whether the United States could keep pace with both conflicts without also impeding its own military readiness.
Julianne Smith, the American ambassador to NATO, sought to head off concerns ahead of meetings this week of defense ministers at the military alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.
“We don’t anticipate any challenges in that regard,” Ms. Smith told journalists Tuesday, echoing earlier assurances from Washington.
She said the United States could both “stay focused on our partnership and commitment to Israel’s security, while also meeting our commitments and promise to continue supporting Ukraine, as it defends its territory and protects all of the values that all of us hold dear here across the NATO alliance.”
The Pentagon has ordered an aircraft carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and officials are looking at munitions and other equipment in American stockpiles that can quickly be made available for Israel. That is part of a longstanding American agreement to provide security assistance to Israel, which benefits greatly from U.S. aid.
But a senior NATO official, Adm. Rob Bauer of the Netherlands, said last week that Western weapons stockpiles were already nearing “the bottom of the barrel” in calling for the defense industry to step up production. Additionally, congressional Republicans in the United States are calling for steep cuts to new aid for Ukraine, and refused to approve more spending in a budget fight.
“Any funding for Ukraine should be redirected to Israel immediately,” Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, on Monday.
Ms. Smith said some of the two days of meetings this week in Brussels, beginning on Wednesday, would seek additional ways to continue supplying Ukraine and speeding weapons production across NATO member states.