President Joe Biden on Monday revived a World War II measure that had been used to boost U.S. allies fighting Nazi Germany, allowing the government to accelerate arms deliveries to Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion.
Biden signed the Lend-lease Act in the Oval Office and said the United States supports Ukrainians “the struggle to defend their country and their democracy against the brutal war of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin”.
He also indicated that he is willing to make a political concession in Congress so that he can quickly get approval for a request for an additional $33 billion in funds to support Ukraine.
Biden had previously demanded approval be accompanied by support for funding for unrelated government anti-covid programs. But as Republicans are hot on the heels of Covid-related spending, Biden said he’s ready to drop Covid funding demands for now and just get Ukraine’s money through.
“We cannot afford any delay in this crucial war effort,” he said in a statement, urging Congress to “get the financing law for Ukraine on my desk immediately.”
The update of the historic Lend-lease measure resonated especially in the hours after Putin oversaw a military parade in Moscow’s Red Square for the annual commemoration of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. Putin has turned the event into a spectacle that justifies his war against pro-Western Ukraine, which he falsely claims is Nazi occupied.
In the 1940s, the United States and the communist Soviet Union were briefly allies against their common German enemy. It was then that President Franklin Roosevelt first used the Lend lease measure, removing bureaucratic obstacles to funnel billions of dollars worth of equipment to European partners, including the Soviets.
Today, Lend lease is used to open the taps on artillery, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank weapons, and other powerful Western weapons used by the Ukrainian military against Russian forces.
Stressing the symbolism of the date, Biden noted that he signed the deed the day after the United States and Western Europe marked their separate Victory in Europe Day, May 8.
He also stressed that Monday itself was the anniversary of Europe Day on May 9, which celebrates the founding of the European Union in 1950 and the creation of an “economic powerhouse” and “global force for peace”.
Recognizing the billions of dollars the United States has already spent, Biden said that “admitting to aggression is even more expensive”.
In a tweet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the measure and also harks back to the war against Germany.
“Signing the Lend lease law today is a historic step. I am convinced that we will win together again. And we will defend democracy in Ukraine. And in Europe. Like 77 years ago,” Zelensky wrote.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)