Photo: Meeting of Volodymyr Zelenskyy with the US Delegation in Kyiv
Source: Office of the President of Ukraine
For the first time since World War II, the United States has adopted a land lease program. Just like in the 20th century, this move could help Ukraine win the war against the Russian Federation. The idea of a land lease is not new. Amid the build-up of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine before 24th of February, domestic experts and government officials have called for a program of large-scale arms supplies to Ukraine to liberate Ukrainian territory from Russian invaders. At the official level, Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a direct call to create a land lease program for Ukraine at the 58th Munich Security Conference on February 19, 2022.
However, the decision was made only 2 months after the start of the full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation. After the summer capitulation of the Afghan army, the United States and the European Union expected a similar scenario in Ukraine. States evacuated their embassies in advance, and after the start of the Russian offensive on February 24, 2022, expected the Ukrainian army surrender is a matter of several days. After that, the United States was preparing to support the guerrilla movement, the main driver of which would be the Armed Forces. However, the successful actions of Ukrainian Army, the mass destruction of enemy troops, led the United States to believe that Ukraine can not only defend its independence, but also win this war. In fact, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have become the main factor and the biggest contributor to the change of position of the United States and the EU in favor of greater support for Ukraine.
Earlier, the United States used to speak of the need to help Ukraine to defend itself. However, Lloyd Austin's landmark statement on April 25, 2022, that the United States believes in Ukraine's victory testifies to a radical transformation of Washington's position. “We believe that they – we can win – they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support. And we’re going to do everything we can...”, Austin told reporters. After that, the United States activated its network of alliances and formed a new pro-Ukrainian Coalition. Joe Biden also soon announced his intention to provide an additional $33 billion to support Ukraine” in its fight for freedom. The request includes over $20 billion for weapons, ammunition, and other military assistance, as well as $8.5 billion in direct economic assistance to the government and $3 billion in humanitarian and food security aid.
List of weapons which can be transferred to Ukraine may include: third-generation M1A2 Abrams tanks, M2A3 Bradley US infantry fighting vehicles, M109A6 Paladin? self-propelled artillery mounts, HIMARS wheeled multiple launch rocket systems, NASAMS universal launcher, Patriot? air defense systems, multifunctional light fighters of the 4th generation F-16 C/D. The final list will be agreed by the leadership of the two states. Thus, Ukraine can potentially receive all the offensive weapons necessary to liberate the country's territory. While Russian military capabilities will decrease, Ukrainian ones, due to the American program and the help of the Coalition countries, will grow. In addition, the supplied weapons correspond to NATO standards, bringing Ukraine closer to the North Atlantic Alliance.
One more element of the United States large-scale military support initiative, after the creation of the Coalition, was the adoption of Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022. As noted in the document itself, this legislative act provides enhanced authority for Biden to enter into agreements with Kyiv to lend or lease defense items to Ukraine to protect civilian populations from the Russian military invasion, as well as for other purposes. The act actually removes any restrictions of the president on the supply of necessary weapons, removes bureaucratic procedures, which significantly speeds up this process. The document has no expiration date. Therefore, assistance will be provided for as long as Ukraine needs it, or as long as the United States considers such assistance appropriate. Given the US official statements, arms deliveries will continue until Ukraine wins the war and reaches capabilities allowing to prevent another Russian attack. Eastern European countries impacted by the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine can also receive the assistance.
Land lease is not free. There are no specific details on what conditions the equipment will be transferred and this mechanism has yet to be agreed by the states. In World War II, the Allies did not pay for damaged and destroyed equipment, and after the war they could either return or purchase the necessary units. Similar conditions would now be beneficial both for Ukraine and the United States. Ukraine will be armed with the necessary equipment, while the American military-industrial complex will receive additional orders as a result of the war waged by Russia.
The last week of April can become one of the most important periods of the Russo-Ukrainian war. The radical change of the United States of America posture regarding weapons supply opens up new opportunities for a counteroffensive by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The United States and the Coalition they lead are not only ready to supply offensive weapons for Ukrainian army. They are ready to supply as many offensive weapons as is necessary until the moment of Ukraine's victory. The created Coalition, the 33 billion programme, as well as the adopted Lend-Lease program are elements of the American initiative to support Ukraine, which will provide the country an opportunity to return the occupied territories and reduce the likelihood of a renewed Russian Federation invasion in the future.
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2. Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Secretary Lloyd Austin Remarks to Traveling Press, 25/04/2022,
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5. Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022, 04/08/2022
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