By Chisomo Phiri
WASHINGTON-(MaraviPost)-The United States of America President Joe Biden on Monday May 9, 2022 signed legislation that will make it easier for the U.S. government to send military equipment to Ukraine as its battle with Russia continues.
Biden signed the bill in the Oval Office at a ceremony with his Vice Harris and some members of Congress.
The bill, formally known as the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022, passed Congress with bipartisan support last month.
Biden affirmed U.S. support for the Ukrainians in their fight to defend their country and their democracy against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal war.
“Every day Ukrainians pay with their lives. The cost of the fight is not cheap but caving to aggression is even more costly. That’s why we’re staying in this,” said Biden as he was signing the bill.
The bill was introduced by Sens. John Cornyn and Ben Cardin and it allows the U.S. to lend or lease military equipment to Ukraine and other allies in Eastern Europe while streamlining the process to make it easier to do so.
The bill also revives a World War II-era policy that helped defeat Nazi Germany.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed with the bill’s signing.
“Today’s signing of the law on Lend-Lease is 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,” Zelensky tweeted.
The bill passed the Senate in a voice vote and later passed the House in a bipartisan vote of 417-10 last month. All 10 of the “no” votes in the House came from Republicans.
The U.S. has been sending military and other security assistance to Ukraine at a rapid clip as the country has fought back against Russian attacks on major cities such Kyiv and, more recently, on southern and eastern Ukraine.
Last week Biden announced plans to send another $150 million in military aid to Ukraine, which the administration said has almost exhausted the funds authorized by Congress.
In March this year, U.S lawmakers authorized $13.6 billion in Ukraine-related security, economic and humanitarian assistance.
Currently, the White House is asking lawmakers to authorize a whopping US$33 billion in aid to help Ukraine sustain the fight against Russia over the coming months and address the refugee crisis and global economic impacts of the war.