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Sunday, March 26th, 2023

Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act will ease means of providing U.S. military equipment to Ukraine

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Following the passage of the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022, the Biden administration will find it easier to lend and lease military equipment to Ukraine and other Eastern European countries impacted by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Signed into law this week, the legislation originally introduced by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) – Ranking Member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe – and Co-Chairman Steven Cohen (D-TN), negates bureaucratic barriers to the process in this specific instance of use. Only materials meant to protect civilians during the current war or serve the broader national security concerns of the United States can benefit from red tape reduction.

“We join the civilized world in being horrified by the mass murder with indiscriminate slaughter of untold thousands of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers at the hands of war criminal Putin,” Wilson said after the bill was signed into law. “In order to combat the invasion, this law further responds to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s urgent request for access to U.S. weapons and other defense articles. As a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Co-Chairman and founder of the European Union Caucus, it is reassuring and incredible that Putin has unintentionally energized NATO and the EU to stop aggression now.”

Historically, the president is bound by the Arms Export Control Act. This law allows the White House to lend and lease defense articles to U.S. partners and allies when it aligns with its national security interest. However, this comes with specific barriers and restrictions that do not make it a speedy or often practical practice for immediate crises.

“With Putin’s war once more bringing wanton destruction into Europe, and to — to reaffirm the enduring commitment to the future grounded in democracy, human rights, and peaceful resolution to disagreements, I’m now going to sign this bill,” Biden said as he put pen to paper on the legislation.

Wilson emphasized that the new law would expedite and expand how the United States and its allies could continue supplying Ukraine with the military equipment needed to repel the invasion of its borders.