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  • Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act: What does this mean for the United States and Ukraine


    President of the USA, Joe Biden signed the Ukraine bill into law on May 9.

    80 years ago, a similar program operated during World War II and helped the Allies defeat Hitler’s Germany. Igor Burakovsky, IER chairman of the board, explained what does this Lend-lease mean in practice and why it is important for the USA as well.

    What is Lend-Lease?

    The full title of the document is “The Law, which provides enhanced authority for the President to enter into agreements with the Government of Ukraine to lend or lease defense articles to that Government to protect civilian populations in Ukraine from Russian military invasion, and for other purposes”. Shortly - Lend Lease Act of 2022 for the Protection of Democracy in Ukraine” (Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022). The law authorizes the President of the United States to transfer or lease military items (armament, equipment, fuel, food, etc.) to Ukraine or other Eastern European governments in order to help strengthen the defense capabilities of these countries and protect their civilians.

    What does a Lend-Lease mean in practice?

    The mechanism of land-lease provides for the provision of a constant flow of military aid (practically without restrictions). Without such a law, the allocation of additional funds in the event of exhaustion of the main funding would require a special decision of the U.S. Congress.

    The law effectively abolishes the requirement to return the rented property after five years or to compensate for its value in case of damage (loss), as provided by relevant U.S. law.

    The document gives the president of the United States the right to decide how to help Ukraine in case of an urgent need. Without such a law, he would have to justify before Congress what exactly and why he wants to pass on to Ukraine. The only restriction is a ban on the transfer of chemical and nuclear weapons. At the same time, the Land-Lease law does not abolish the action of other acts that regulate the provision of U.S. economic and military aid to other countries.

    U.S. President Joe Biden has 60 days to develop a procedure for the provision of goods to Ukraine. The mechanism of cooperation between the United States and Ukraine will be quite simple: Ukraine submits the application, where it indicates the needs, the President of the United States approves it, and the shipment of ordered products begins then.

    How can we assess the political significance of Lend-Lease for the United States?

    American experts view the law as an important factor in cohesion of the American society. After all, there is still differently assessed the results of the presidential elections in the United States, exists a number of socio-economic problems that generate quite sharp criticism of the actions of Joe Biden, who tries to position himself  as "the president of all Americans".

    The adoption of the law was a confirmation of the global role of the United States as the “arsenal of democracy”. President Franklin D. Roosevelt formulated this thesis addressing the American people on a radio in 1940. Then the United States promised to help Britain with military supplies, not entering a war with Germany. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was in a year. Today America operates according to the "concept" of Roosevelt. For the United States, strengthening Ukraine’s military capabilities is a way of defending democracy without direct confrontation with russia.

    Production of relevant goods stimulates the development of an economic activity in the United States.

    This Law is an important tool for supporting Ukraine in the event of an aggravation of the situation and war period increase.

    Those who are interested in how the "classic" Land-Lease worked during the Second World War should read two books. In the book “Russia’s Life-Saver: Lend-Lease Aid to the U.S.S.R. in World War” (2010, author Albert L. Weeks) analyze the role of land leasing in the provision of military, industrial and humanitarian needs of the USSR. The second book, “Lend-Lease: Weapon for Victory”, was written by witness to those events Edward R. Stettinius, who was Secretary of State (1944-1945) and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1945-1946).

    IER has three telegram channels based on analytical expertise from our experts. For more information, please subscribe to “Economy of Ukraine”, “World with Ukraine” , “Sanctions against the Enemy”.



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