U.S. President Joe Biden signed a Lend-Lease bill for Ukraine that would provide for a more prompt handover of weapons to Kyiv.
There is no information on the White House website yet, but CNBC reports that he actually signed the document live on the air.
In addition, the signing was broadcast live on Voice of America's YouTube channel.
This is a historic event, because such a bill, which actually gives the U.S. leader a free hand and reduces the number of procedures when providing assistance to a warring country, was last passed in 1941.
Biden signed the law on the same day that Russia celebrated Victory Day, the 77th anniversary of the allied defeat of Nazi Germany, a victory facilitated in part by the original Lend-Lease Act, The New Yourk Times also reports.
"This day’s supposed to be about celebrating peace and unity in Europe and the defeat of Nazis in World War II," Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said at a briefing afterward. "And instead, Putin is perverting history, changing history, or trying to change it, I should say, to try to justify his unprovoked war."
Lend-Lease for Ukraine and what it gives
On April 28, the U.S. Congress almost unanimously voted in favor of the Lend-Lease bill for Ukraine: 417 deputies supported it, only 10 were against it. The U.S. Senate had previously supported Lend-Lease unanimously.
In Congress, 221 Democrats and 196 Republicans voted for the bill. Under the Lend-Lease program, Ukraine (Joe Biden has already asked Congress for $33 billion for Ukraine) will get, among other things, the following:
- Third generation tanks M1A2 Abrams;
- U.S. infantry fighting vehicles M2A3 Bradley;
- Self-propelled guns M109A6 Paladin;
- HIMARS Multiple launch rocket systems on wheeled chassis;
- Multi-purpose launcher/MLRS M270 MLRS4;
- Mobile Norwegian air defense system NASAMS 2;
- SAM Patriot;
- Multifunctional light fighter jets of the 4th generation F-16 C/D.
Lend-Lease as law against Hitler
The Lend-Lease Act was first passed 81 years ago, on March 11, 1941. It allowed the U.S. to enter the war while arming its allies, and was terminated on September 20, 1945.
It should be noted that this assistance mainly did not imply a direct return of money for weapons and humanitarian aid, but had the the following requirements:
- using until destruction or, if safed, returning military equipment to the United States;
- providing the Americans with the opportunity of renting naval bases on the territory of the allies during the war.
It is interesting that Canada implemented a similar program Mutual Aid for Great Britain and the USSR.
The U.S. has provided a total of $50.1 billion worth of weapons to allies (about $690 billion in 2020 equivalent). Countries received it in the following proportion:
- Great Britain — $31.4 billion (at the same time, Winston Churchill wrote in 1941 that after June 1941, the British had sent the maximum possible aid from the Allies to the USSR, and Clementine Churchill collected millions of pounds for humanitarian aid to the Russians);
- USSR — $11.3 billion (the Lend-Lease for the USSR was agreed in October 1941 in Moscow, on condition that Britain and the United States would personally deliver weapons and aid to the Eastern Front);
- France — $3.2 billion;
- China — $1.6 billion;
- Other allies -—2.5 billion.
Reverse airbase rental services totaled $7.8 billion, of which $6.8 billion came from the UK. After the Lend-Lease termination date, London received further aid from the U.S., but at a heavy discount. Reverse Lend-Lease from the USSR to the USA amounted to $2.2 million.
The Canadian program delivered $4.7 billion worth of aid, mainly also to the UK and the USSR.
Lend-lease is considered one of the initiatives of Franklin Roosevelt that involved the United States in the war, but in fact he was able to delay the direct confrontation between the Americans and the Axis powers until December 7, 1941.
On December 8, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war on Japan at the same time as Great Britain, and on December 11, Italy and Germany, for their part, declared war on the United States.
Big victory: What the USSR got
The USA supplied the USSR with hundreds of thousands of tons of aviation fuel, millions of shells for cannons and ammo, spare tracks for tanks, tires, spare parts for tanks, aircraft, etc.
For example, the vast majority of the BM-13H (the famous Katyusha) was mounted on the platform of the American Studebaker US6 truck.
Supplies to the USSR were carried out along several routes:
- Arctic convoys
- Black Sea
- Soviet Arctic
None of these routes were completely safe. The fastest and most dangerous route was the Arctic convoys. In July-December 1941, 40% of all supplies were made along this route, and about 15% of the shipped cargo ended up on the ocean floor.
Under Lend-Lease, the USSR got:
- railway rails — 622,100 tons;
- steam locomotives — 1,900;
- wagons — 11,075;
- tires — 3.6 million;
- cars — 427,000;
- army motorcycles — 32,000;
- aviation gasoline — 2.13 million tons;
- aircraft — 14,795;
- tanks — 7,056;
- passenger jeeps — 51,503;
- trucks — 375,883;
- motorcycles — 35,170;
- tractors — 8,071;
- rifles — 8,218;
- automatic weapons — 131,633;
- pistols — 12,997;
- explosives — 345,735 tons;
- dynamite — 70.4 million pounds (31,933 tons);
- gunpowder — 127,000 tons;
- TNT — 271.5 million pounds (123,150 tons);
- toluene — 237.4 million pounds (107,682 tons);
- detonators — 903,000;
- building services — for $10.9 million;
- freight wagons — 11,155;
- locomotives — 1,981;
- cargo ships — 90;
- anti-submarine ships — 105;
- torpedo boats — 197;
- radars — 445;
- engines for ships — 7784;
- food stocks — 4.478 million tons;
- vehicles and equipment — for $1.07 billion;
- non-ferrous metals — 802,000 tons;
- oil products — 2.67 million tons;
- chemicals — 842,000 tons;
- cotton — 106.9 million tons;
- leather — 49.860 tons;
- splints — 3.78 million tons;
- army boots — 15.4 million pairs;
- blankets — 1.54 million;
- alcohol — 331,000 liters;
- buttons — 257.7 million pieces;
- sugar — 610,000 tons;
- canned meat — 664,600 tons.
The amount of Lend-Lease debts after the World War II was as follows:
- Great Britain — $4.33 billion to the USA, $1.19 billion — to Canada, last payments were made on December 29, 2006;
- France — in 1946 signed a package of agreements with the United States to settle the French debt in exchange for a number of trade concessions (for example, it significantly increased quotas for showing American films);
- China — $187 million to the United States (the United States first recognized China as the heir to the debt and in 1989 demanded its return from Taiwan, the further fate of the debt is still unclear);
- The USSR — the U.S. demanded $1.6 billion, in 1951 the amount was halved to $800 million, but the USSR agreed to pay only $300 million, which brought the negotiations to a standstill. The agreement with the USSR on repayment of the debt was concluded only in 1972 (for the amount of $722 million), the Soviets paid $48 million and stopped payments due to the US sanctions. Only in June 1990 did the parties agree on a new debt repayment period (2030). As of 2003, Russia owed another $100 million.
Conclusions. In fact, Lend-Lease showed Vladimir Putin that it was he who symbolized the tyrant and fuhrer of the new era, and it was thanks to the speedy supply of weapons that Ukraine had a chance to quickly dismiss its theories.
It also shows that the United States really believes in the victory of Ukraine in the war with Russia, while Joe Biden decided to sign the document on the day of May 9 — when the Russians celebrate the victory over fascism, which they all attribute to themselves.
Europe mainly celebrates May 8 — Memorial Day for those killed in World War II. Ukraine canceled all May holidays this year over martial law.