US President Joe Biden signed lend-lease law Concerning Ukraine (Debt Lease Act for Defense of Democracy of Ukraine (2022). The document will facilitate the supply of weapons to Kiev.
“Give the President expanded powers to sign agreements with the Ukrainian government on the supply or lease of defense equipment to protect Ukraine’s civilian population from Russian military occupation and for other purposes,” the law says.
Now, no later than 90 days after the law goes into effect, Biden will have to set up expedited procedures for the timely delivery of military aid. Kyiv will receive equipment and weapons on credit, payable after the end of the conflict.
The lending bill was presented to the upper house of Congress even before the military operation in Ukraine began in January. In April, both houses approved “to the end of hostilities”: voting in the Senate took place on April 7 and in the House of Representatives on April 28.
“The law will allow us to once again serve as the arsenal of democracy and supply Ukraine with deadly weapons against the threat to Russia’s sovereignty.” noted One of its authors is Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the signing of the loan law as a “historic step”.
“I am grateful to Joe Biden and the people of the United States for supporting Ukraine in the fight for our freedom and our future,” he said on Twitter.
Since February 24, the United States has allocated $3.8 billion to Ukraine. At the end of April, Biden requested a new $33 billion aid package to Congress, of which $20.4 billion was earmarked for “additional military and security assistance.”
How did Moscow react to Washington’s decision?
State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin expressed confidenceHe said the lending program would plunge Ukraine into a debt vacuum as the profits of American military companies increased severalfold. “Lending is a commodity loan and it is not cheap: for all the ammunition, equipment and food supplied by the United States, many future generations of Ukrainian citizens will pay,” the politician said.
USSR’s debts to the USA, II. He recalled that it was repaid only 61 years after the end of World War II. “We repaid debts, limited ourselves for many years, supplied the United States by mutual agreement with platinum, gold, timber, repaired American ships for free, etc. But in 2006, just 61 years after the Great Victory, those payments were completed,” he wrote to Telegram.
Commenting on the bill, Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Western countries did not resolve the conflict by “planting weapons” on Ukraine. “They were so planted that Berlin said their warehouses had already dried up, and from this it would be possible to buy weapons for Ukraine,” he said.
How Lend-Lease Helped Defeat Nazi Germany
The Americans last used the Lend-Lease program during World War II. US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act on March 11, 1941, before that, weapons were supplied to countries fighting the Third Reich only on a prepaid basis. The document allowed the supply of military goods to the allies in the anti-Hitler coalition. Initially, the goods went only to the Commonwealth of Nations and China, but later the list of importers expanded to 48 countries. Deliveries to the Soviet Union began in the second half of 1941.
The United States entered the war shortly after the Lend-Lease program was launched.
The USA sent more than 22,000 planes, more than 10 thousand tanks, 44 thousand jeeps, more than 375 thousand trucks, about 8 thousand tractors, more than 12 thousand pistols and 8 thousand rifles, 345 thousand tons of explosives and 202 torpedo boats. 105 anti-submarine ships and 90 cargo ships. In addition, food, steel, non-ferrous metals, petroleum products, cotton, leather, alcohol, blankets, military shoes and even buttons were supplied to the Soviet Union.
“Without American products, the war would have been lost,” Joseph Stalin told Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt at the Tehran conference in 1943.
Later, in USSR historiography, supplies declined in importance, while the Allies often, on the contrary, overestimated their importance. The Lend-Lease program was canceled in August 1945.
At the end of the Second World War, the USSR owed $2.7 billion to the United States. During long negotiations, this amount was reduced to $722 million. The debt was only repaid by the successor country, the Russian Federation, in August 2006.