The Senate on Wednesday night passed a bill that would revive the lend-lease program for Ukraine, which was used to give weapons to the Soviet Union, China, the UK, and other US allies during World War II.
The Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 passed in the Senate by voice vote. The legislation would give President Biden the authority to send more weapons to Ukraine with less red tape.
The legislation would allow the US to give weapons to Ukraine free of charge while requiring payment at a later date. According to a summary of the bill, it would temporarily waive “certain requirements related to the President’s authority to lend or lease defense articles if the defense articles are intended for Ukraine’s government and necessary to protect civilians in Ukraine from Russian military invasion.”
If passed through the House and signed by President Biden, the US could send weapons under the bill for however long the current conflict lasts. The summary says the waiver would be in effect until “the conflict beginning with Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014 has ceased, and Russia has reduced its military force on Ukraine’s eastern border to the levels maintained prior to March 1, 2021.”
During World War II, the US sent its allies an enormous amount of military aid under the lend-lease program. According to the US Embassy in Russia, the program provided the Soviet Union with $11.3 billion in assistance, the equivalent of $180 billion in today’s currency, from 1941 to 1945.
The US has already provided a substantial amount of weapons to Ukraine and is delivering new weapons packages rapidly. Since Russia invaded on February 24, the Biden administration has pledged $1.7 billion in military aid for Kyiv. More is coming as NATO allies agreed Thursday to give Ukraine “new and heavier” military equipment.