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Lend-Lease And Ukraine

Updated: May 22, 2022

On Monday, May 8, United States President Joseph Biden signed into law the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022. This act is aimed at increasing the material support the U.S. is sending to Ukraine to help combat the ongoing Russian invasion. While the U.S. and other NATO countries have already sent a multitude of arms and equipment, this allows the administration in Washington to bypass several legal roadblocks that are usually restrictive of arms sales.

The Lend-Lease act would exempt the United States government from certain provisions of law that restrict the loan or lease of military equipment to foreign countries. Some of these include the five-year limit on the duration of the loan or the requirement that receiving countries pay all costs incurred by the United States.

President Joe Biden signs the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, May 9, 2022, in Washington. Witnessing the signing are Ukraine-born Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., right, and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives with a 417 to 10 vote in favor, and an uncommon unanimous vote in the Senate. When it was passed on April 28 in the United States Congress, House Majority Speak Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said, “In his 1941 State of the Union address, President Roosevelt explained that democracy itself, democracy itself was under dire threat, not only in Europe, but around the world.”

Lend-Lease is separate from the recent $33 billion assistance package the U.S. President has requested. America has sent over $300 million so far in 2022 to Ukraine. After signing the bill into law, President Biden stated, "The atrocities that the Russians are engaging in are just beyond the pale."

This act comes after the United States has already sent;

  • Almost 1,500 Stinger anti-aircraft systems

  • Almost 6,000 Javelin anti-armor systems

  • Another 14,000 various anti-armor systems

  • More than 700 Switchblade loitering munition “Kamikaze” drones

  • 121 Phoenix Ghost drones

  • 90 M777 155mm Howitzer artillery systems along with an estimated 183,000 rounds of ammunition

  • 72 Medium Tactical Vehicles (MTVs) to tow the M777 platform

  • 16 Mi-17 transport helicopters

  • 200 M113 armored personnel carriers, along with an unnamed number of Humvees (HMMWVs)

  • More than 7,000 small arms

  • Over 50 million rounds of small arms ammunition

The act has its roots more notably in WWII. This was used to get weapons, equipment and technologies to American allies to fight the combined German and Japanese threat. A total of $50.1 billion, equivalent to $690 billion in 2020, worth of supplies were shipped out to these friendly countries. In all, $31.4 billion went to the United Kingdom, $3.2 billion to France, $1.6 billion to China, $11.3 billion to the Soviet Union and the remaining $2.6 billion to other allies.

Image from Getty Images via BBC

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