By: The Epoch Times
The bill, known as the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, was approved unanimously by the upper congressional chamber late on April 6 to give enhanced authority to the federal government to enter into agreements with Ukraine’s government to lend or lease equipment and weapons amid the conflict with Russia. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) sponsored the measure.
It was last used during World War II when the United States provided assistance to allied countries against Nazi Germany, namely to the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union.
The bill will now have to be approved in the House and signed by President Joe Biden. It’s not clear when the House will take up the bill, however, as both chambers of Congress leave Washington on Thursday for a scheduled recess.
The U.S. Congress has already approved some $14 billion in humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, and NATO has provided the country with weapons, equipment, and intelligence following the start of the Feb. 24 war. If the Lend-Lease law passes the House, even more U.S. military aid might flow into the country.
So far, NATO and the United States have provided Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, while the Pentagon last week confirmed it sent “Switchblade” kamikaze drones to Kyiv. President Joe Biden on several occasions has said the United States won’t send any troops to Ukraine, saying that doing so would escalate the conflict with Russia.
A local resident rides a bicycle past a charred armored vehicle during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the separatist-controlled town of Volnovakha in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on March 15, 2022. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)
“As the war in Ukraine unfolds, delivering military aid as quickly as possible is pivotal for Ukraine’s ability to defend itself,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), another sponsor of the measure. “The Kremlin is committing horrific assaults throughout the nation on civilian infrastructure and targeting innocent men, women, and children,” she continued.
The move was also publicly backed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who told other lawmakers that Russia’s government is “guilty of” killing civilians over “their religion, their race, or their nationality.” The Kremlin has categorically denied that its forces killed civilians in Bucha, near Kyiv, last week.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday wrote on Twitter that he welcomes the Senate approving the bill and urged the House to pass the measure.
“Grateful to the U.S. Senate for passing the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act,” Kuleba said. “Important first step towards a lend-lease program to expedite the delivery of military equipment to Ukraine. Looking forward to its swift passage in the House and signing by the U.S. President.”