The Pentagon's training and support for Ukraine's military will be exempt from a government shutdown if lawmakers can't agree on a deal to keep funding the government to allow operations to continue without being interrupted.
"Operation Atlantic Resolve is an excepted activity under a government lapse in appropriations," Defense Department spokesperson Chris Sherwood told Politico on Thursday afternoon after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley, and other Pentagon leaders.
This means that the United States' military actions in connection with the war, including training Ukraine soldiers on American equipment and tactics, along with shipments of weapons to Kyiv, will go on.
Sherwood earlier this week said a government shutdown could bring those activities to a halt.
The news came as U.S. and European officials are concerned that international aid for Ukraine could be declining. Zelenskyy on Thursday pleaded his case to lawmakers on Capitol Hill and met with President Joe Biden, who announced during the meeting a new $325 million package of aid for Ukraine that includes more artillery, air defenses, and cluster munitions.
Biden also said that the first U.S. Army M1 Abrams tanks that have been pledged to Ukraine are expected to arrive on the battlefield there next week.
Normally, when there is a government shutdown, military activities stop unless determined to be critical for national security. In 2018, for example, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis said the military would keep hunting ISIS in the Middle East, but training stopped for tens of thousands of military Reserve and Guard units.
Sherwood, though, said that by law, the Pentagon's chief can make exceptions to activities that would be shuttered under a government shutdown.
The decision to exempt Ukraine's operations was just made Thursday, he added, but furloughs and other activities that are halted under a shutdown could have a negative effect, said another Pentagon spokesman, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder.
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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