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UPDATED 1:00 PM PT – Tuesday, May 10, 2022
President Joe Biden is invoking World War II legislation in his latest pledge to arm Ukrainians. Biden signed the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 on Monday, which aims to restart a World War II-era arms program.
The bill reportedly passed through the Senate by unanimous consent and passed through the House with 417 representatives supporting it. Additionally, a group of bipartisan lawmakers attended the signing ceremony, including Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD.), former CIA Analyst Alissa Slotkin and Ukraine-born GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.).
The President stressed, the program helped bolster European allies in 1941 and led to the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.
“Every day Ukrainians pay with their lives and they fight long against the atrocities that the Russians are engaging in are just beyond the pale,” said Biden. “The cost of the fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is even more costly. That’s why we’re staying in this. Yesterday we celebrated V-E Day, Victory in Europe Day, marking the end of a transition of the devastation of the consequence of World War II and allied nations defeat of the scourge of fascism in Europe.”
Experts say the move is largely symbolic and came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech commemorating Victory in Europe Day. However, the move comes as Biden pushes through a $33 billion military aid package for Ukraine. Last week, Biden announced a $150 million program that would re-supply Ukraine’s stockpiles of Javelin missiles, Howitzer rounds and other equipment.
Critics are beginning to argue that the conflict in Ukraine is touring into a proxy war between the US and Russia as top military and intelligence officials are touting America’s role in helping Ukraine sink key Russian ships and top military brass. Biden is reportedly displeased that his hand is being shown.
Meanwhile, a slew of bipartisan US lawmakers are praising the bill with many saying it is a necessary step in ensuring Ukraine’s survival and a preservation of liberal democracies. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he is grateful for the move. He claims America and Ukraine will win the war together.