Russia explains what US lend-lease really means for Ukraine
Lend-lease isn’t free, and generations of Ukrainians are going to pay for the weapons that’ll be supplied by Washington to Kiev under the program, Vyacheslav Volodin, Russian State Duma speaker, has said.
On Thursday, the US House of Representatives approved the “Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act,” which makes it easier for Washington to send weapons to Ukraine amid its conflict with Russia. However, those deliveries are conditioned on Kiev having to pay for the “return of and reimbursement and repayment for defense articles loaned or leased.” The lend-lease bill, which now only needs Joe Biden’s signature, is separate from the White House’s ongoing efforts to arm the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with weapons from the Pentagon’s stockpiles.
“Washington’s motives are crystal clear,” Volodin wrote on Telegram, suggesting that lend-leasing to Ukraine “would allow to increase the profits of American defense corporations by several times.”
The parliament speaker recalled the events of World War II when the Soviet Union had received military hardware from the US under a similar lend-lease scheme.
“It was described as help from the allies,” but the USSR, which lost 27 million lives fighting the Nazis, had to return those debts for decades, among other things, sending its platinum, gold and timber to America as part of mutual settlements, he said.
“The payments were only completed 61 years after the Great Victory, in 2006,” Volodin pointed out.
Lend-lease is basically a commodity loan, and “not a cheap one,” he warned. “Many future generations of Ukrainian citizens are going to pay” for the weapons, ammo and food supplies delivered by Washington.
By agreeing to the land-lease scheme, “Zelensky is leading the country into a debt pit,” the parliament speaker insisted.
Russia sent its troops to Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.