WASHINGTON | In a historically charged response to the May 9 military parade in Moscow, Joe Biden signed legislation on Monday to speed up the movement of military equipment to Ukraine, reactivating an iconic World War II device.
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“Ukrainians fight for their lives every day,” he told reporters in the Oval Office, adding, “This fight is expensive, but giving in to aggression would be even more expensive.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj saw this signature as 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,” he wrote on Twitter.
The “Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act” or “Lend-Lease” law “is based on a World War II program to help Europe resist Hitler”.
The text “was supported by almost all US congressmen, with the exception of 10 elected members of the House of Representatives who voted against it,” the White House noted.
The US executive also reports that the law was enacted as Russia commemorates the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945 on Monday.
The American President sends a strong symbolic response to his Russian counterpart with this text, which commemorates a crucial contribution made by the United States during World War II.
Joe Biden, who regularly expresses his desire to lead the great struggle of democracies against authoritarian regimes, is following in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s footsteps.
The latter had instigated a lend-lease program in 1941, before the Americans officially entered the conflict in December, giving the President of the United States sweeping powers to support the war effort in Europe.
Since the Russian invasion began on February 24, the Biden administration has provided approximately $3.8 billion in military aid to Kyiv.
The Democratic president has already asked Congress for a massive $33 billion budget expansion to continue helping Ukraine.
In a rush to pass that text, which would also allow Americans to replenish their own stockpiles of weapons, Joe Biden made a political concession on Monday.
In a press release, he said he was “ready to accept” that Congress, which Democrats control by a hair’s breadth, will vote on that funding “immediately” but only later validate another envelope dedicated to the fight against Covid-19 .
The White House had initially hoped to combine the two strands in a single vote.