(CNSNews.com) - When asked about the latest installment of U.S. weapons to Ukraine, which includes M1 Abrams tanks, Senator Braun (R-Ind.) emphasized the need for the European Union to “be in there penny for penny with us.”
At the Capitol on Jan. 26, CNS News asked Sen. Braun, “Do you think that the United States should be sending Abrams tanks to Ukraine?”
“My interest in the Ukrainian thing has been to help them but not pay all the bills. In the process of doing it, I think that they’ve been amazing as a country and a people, and that somebody else invaded their territory,” replied Braun.
“But I’m wanting the EU to pick up more of its share of the burden,” said the senator. “So, I think that when the atrocities keep mounting, like they are there, then you can expect the rest of the world to coalesce around their efforts. And I just don’t think that we can pay all the bills when we’re borrowing so much money here for everything that we do.”
“So, I think the EU, it’s incumbent on them,” said Braun. “Their economy, with Great Britain, is just about the size of ours. They should be in there penny for penny with us, if not paying more of it. It’s in their backyard.”
Senator Braun was one of the five GOP senators to vote against the record-breaking $857.9 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which funds the Department of Defense through fiscal year 2023.
This is not the first time Braun has raised concerns over increased defense spending. Braun once told CNS News, “I think defense is the most important thing we do here, but I don’t hold it sacrosanct,” adding that spending needs to be cut “across the board.”
On Jan. 25, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced an additional $400 million in weapons through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI).
According to a Jan. 25 press release, the latest aid package “represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide” Ukraine with the following:
-- 31 Abrams tanks with 120mm rounds and other ammunition;
-- Eight Tactical Vehicles to recover equipment;
-- Support vehicles and equipment;
-- Funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment.
“Alongside the battalion of Abrams tanks provided by the United States, a European consortium is committing to provide two battalions of Leopard tanks to Ukraine in the near term,” said the DoD.
This latest installment of aid in the form of a $400 million USAI package raises the total value of assistance provided to Ukraine to $27.1 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
As shown by the Ukraine Support Tracker, made by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the United States has contributed the brunt of military aid to the Ukrainians when compared with the United Kingdom and the European Union.
In recent days, German Chancellor Olaf Scholzz, after weeks of mixed messaging amid pressure from allies, announced that Germany would be supplying Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. This announcement marked a shift in Germany’s approach to Ukraine, as it has previously been reluctant to increasingly arm Ukrainian forces.