Ambassador advocates for extending US lend-lease framework to ensure continued aid shipments
Ukraine receives aid from the US under three main programs, but it is important that the U.S. Congress extends the Lend-Lease law for the entire year 2024 – so that it remains as the fourth instrument of possible aid, Oksana Markarova, Ambassador of Ukraine to the USA, said in an interview with public broadcaster Suspilne.
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She noted that for almost 17 months, the U.S. Congress has several times adopted changes to the budget and allocated aid to Ukraine in the total amount of $113 billion.
"President Joe Biden submitted new changes to the budget, additional funding for Ukraine. We really hope that we will be able to convince Congress – it will support us and pass them. But if not, then we cannot find ourselves in a situation where there will be no possibility at all from the United States to allocate weapons to us," the diplomat said.
Therefore, according to Markarova, it is important that the law on lend-lease, which expires at the end of September, remains the fourth instrument of possible assistance.
"Amendments to the NDA law have been submitted, this is the so-called military budget, which was already considered in July. The amendment in the House of Representatives to extend the lease for the entire year 2024 has already passed. It has been submitted in the Senate. And we are waiting for the so-called conference between the House of Representatives and the Senate, at which the synchronization of the two draft laws will be decided," she said.
The ambassador explained why it is important for the US Congress to extend the Lend-Lease Act.
"We do not buy the weapons allocated by the United States, but the budget rules work here clearly, so the Pentagon must have the authority to allocate weapons to us. If this authority expires, then the next option today will be to sign rental or leasing agreements, apply the act of lend-lease and receive the same as in the PDA program of presidential allocations under this act. That is why it is very important," Markarova explained.
The diplomat noted that the co-authors of the act on lend-lease are now focusing on allocating additional budget funding, because it allows the application of more than one program.
"This allows not only to give everything that is available, but also to buy for us, because we are already buying new Patriot, NASAMS, radars, all kamikaze drones used by the Armed Forces, missiles," she said.
REFERENCE. Lend-Lease gives the President of the United States expanded authority to transfer or lease defense equipment to Ukraine to protect the civilian population from a military invasion by Russia. Additional coordination for such decisions is not required, which speeds up the process of providing weapons.
The program provides that Lend-Lease assets remaining after the end of the war will be paid for in whole or in part with long-term U.S. loans. If the American side is interested, unbroken and unspent machinery and equipment should be returned to the United States after the war.