Land-Lease worth $33 billion and confiscations: how the US will help Ukraine win

Land-Lease worth $33 billion and confiscations: how the US will help Ukraine win

The United States will rapidly increase supplies of weapons to Kyiv and will be able to pay for them with seized russian assets

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Land-Lease worth $33 billion and confiscations: how the US will help Ukraine win

On Thursday, April 28, US legislators have adopted a law which allows the Joe Biden administration to launch a giant Land-Lease program for military and economic aid to Ukraine. The United States will provide funding for it from its budget, as well as from the accounts of russian oligarchs. To do this, Joe Biden asked Congress for $33 billion and proposed a law on the seizure of frozen assets of russia. Mind has learned what exactly is this money supposed to be spent on.

Earlier in March, the United States approved a $13.6 billion aid package for Ukraine, which included $3.5 billion to replenish US arms supplies to Ukraine. The White House's new $33 billion request includes $20 billion for weapons, ammunition and other military needs, $8.5 billion for direct economic aid to the government of Ukraine and $3 billion for humanitarian aid and food supplies. Ukraine should have enough of these funds by September.

“The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen,” Biden said on Thursday. He added: “We either back Ukrainian people as they defend their country, or we stand by as the russians continue their atrocities.”

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi also made a statement, calling the war in Ukraine a battle between democracy and autocracy and reiterated Roosevelt's call on Americans to provide fuel in order to let the light of democracy burn.

“Our task remains the same today. The Ukrainian people are fighting for all of us,” said Nancy Pelosi.

Land-Lease as a symbol of the struggle against fascism

Land-Lease is a program of large-scale supply of military hardware and equipment by the allies for rent or long-term credit. The United States uses this procedure for the first time since it helped defeat Hitler in World War II. By reviving a scheme with the inspiring name “Land-Lease” Americans have made it clear who they consider Nazis in the current conflict.

The corresponding law “Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022” was adopted in the US Congress with 417 votes “for” and 10 “against”, after that it was approved by the US Senate through anonymous voting. Joe Biden has yet to sign the document, after which his administration will be able to decide on what and in what amounts should be provided to the Ukrainian army and government. This will minimize the amount of bureaucracy on the way of American aid and should dramatically speed up the supplies to Kyiv.

“Ukrainian troops have shown incredible strength and courage, and we should once again serve as an arsenal of democracy and ensure that they have the full range of resources needed to defend their sovereignty,” said Republican Senator John Cornyn.

In particular, Ukraine will be able to obtain M2A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, 155-millimeter M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers, Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems, HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, as well as third-generation Abrams tanks and fourth-generation multi-purpose tanks F-16.

The Land-Lease will operate until the complete cessation of hostilities, including cyberattacks. In the long run, Kyiv must compensate for supplies it will use or will not be able to return. In order for Ukraine to be able to pay for the lease, the United States plans to give it russian assets blocked in the West.

On Wednesday, April 27, more than 400 US congressmen approved a symbolic bill to confiscate russian assets from wealthy russians and companies worth more than $2 million – including villas, yachts and planes – in favor of Ukraine.

According to the White House data, US authorities have already arrested and blocked russian planes and yachts worth more than $1 billion. In addition, EU countries have seized and frozen more than $30 billion of russian assets, including about $ 7billion in the form of real property, helicopters, ships and pieces of art. In particular, the Spanish authorities at the request of the United States confiscated the 78-meter “superyacht” of the billionaire Viktor Vekselberg worth $90 million.

Arithmetic of war of attrition

In the first days of the russian invasion of Ukraine, the idea that putin's armed forces could lose seemed fantastic. Western experts considered the russian army to be powerful, modernized and supported by a ten times larger defense budget than Ukraine.

According to the American economist Paul Krugman, even after the “miraculous” repulse of the initial offensive of russian troops by Ukrainians, the long-term prospects of Ukraine were in doubt.

“Before the war, russia’s economy was about eight times bigger than Ukraine’s; despite the toll that sanctions are taking on russian production, the destruction in Ukraine wrought by the invasion probably means that the gap is even bigger now. So you might have expected russia to eventually win a battle of attrition through sheer weight of resources. But that isn’t what seems to be happening… Time is not on moscow's side. And US officials are beginning to talk optimistically, not just about holding russia off, but about outright Ukrainian victory,” Paul Krugman writes.

The expert points out that Britain in 1940 was in the same situation as Ukraine in 2022. It had unexpected success against a seemingly unstoppable enemy, as the Royal Air Force defeated the Luftwaffe’s attempt to achieve air superiority, a necessary precondition for invasion. Franklin Roosevelt responded with the Lend-Lease Act, which made it possible to transfer large quantities of arms, food and gas to the beleaguered British. This provided a basis for further victories of the anti-Hitler coalition.

“Now Lend-Lease has been revived, and large-scale military aid is flowing to Ukraine, not just from the United States but also from many of our allies. Thanks to this aid, the arithmetic of attrition is actually working strongly against putin. russia’s economy may be much bigger than Ukraine’s, but it’s small compared with the American economy, let alone the combined economies of the Western allies,” says Paul Krugman.

If Ukraine wins, it will be a triumph for the whole world. Aggressors and war criminals will be lying at the very bottom. And this will be a victory not only for Ukrainians, but also for many Western leaders. Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, the leaders of Poland and the Baltic states, who stand side by side with Ukraine in this crisis, will be included in history textbooks as “brave and effective freedom fighters”.

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