Yevgeny Prigozhin’s brief rebellion against the Russian government has given hawks in Congress more ammunition to argue for additional spending on the Ukraine war, POLITICO reported Tuesday.
The argument is that the fractures in Russia are proof Western military support for Ukraine is working, even though the mutiny only lasted about 24 hours.
“I would hope what [the Wagner rebellion] does is reinforce to members of Congress, particularly some of my Republican colleagues, who were talking about not continuing funding Ukraine, that this is why it is important to make sure that we are funding Ukraine to push forward,” Gregory Meeks (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters that it’s “hard to imagine” that Prigozhin’s mutiny is “bad news” for Ukraine. “If you look around the whole world right now, the single most important mission of the free world should be the defeat of the Russians in Ukraine,” he said.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) said the Prigozhin’s uprising is a sign that the US must “remain fully committed to assisting our friends in Ukraine with the tools they need to defeat the Russian regime.”
The crisis in Russia came after House and Senate panels approved their versions of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA is capped at $886 billion under the debt ceiling deal reached between the White House and House Republicans, but the limit does not apply to emergency supplemental funds, which is how spending on the Ukraine war has been authorized.
Three arms industry lobbyists told POLITICO that they believe the Prigozhin uprising will help hawks argue for a supplemental spending package for the Pentagon and Ukraine.
The White House is expected to ask Congress to authorize more spending on Ukraine via supplemental funds, but it’s not clear when that will happen. The Pentagon claimed last week that an “accounting error” has freed up an additional $6.2 billion that can be spent on military aid for Ukraine, giving the administration more time before it needs to make the request. So far, Congress has authorized $113 billion to spend on the war.