Biden revives WW II-era ‘lend-lease’ program

U2’s Bono performs in Kyiv bomb shelter

Russia marks WWII victory overshadowed by Ukraine

Washington DC: President Biden on Monday signed a bill reviving the World War II lend-lease program for Ukraine, allowing the U.S. to supply weapons to the country more quickly.

The signing of the bill falls on Russia’s Victory Day, an annual commemoration of the Soviet Union’s defeat of the Nazis in World War II. Putin attempted to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a Victory Day speech on Monday, railing against NATO and continuing to refer to the government in Kyiv as “Nazis.”

The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously and the House by a vote of 417 to 10, allows the Biden administration to loan weapons to Ukraine more quickly by reducing bureaucratic hurdles. The bill comes as Biden has practically exhausted the military assistance he can send to Ukraine through his presidential drawdown authority. The president announced an additional $150 million in military aid on Friday.

Biden has also requested $33 billion in the military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine from Congress. “I’m signing a bill that provides another important tool in our efforts to support the government of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in their fight to defend their country and their democracy against Putin’s brutal war,” Biden said at the signing ceremony.

The program will allow Ukraine to more efficiently request weapons against Russia, just as the Lend-Lease Act of 1941 helped U.S. allies defeat Nazi Germany. The Lend-Lease Act of 1941 was originally proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help arm British forces battling Germany.

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