Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, Professor at the Department of International Relations, Information and Regional Studies of the National Aviation University
Сandidate of Historical Sciences (Ph.D.), Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Yuri Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, Doctoral Candidate at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration
Who among us doesn’t know the phrase: you cannot bring the past back? However, current events in Ukraine once again confirm an important historical lesson: as long as evil remains unpunished and not completely destroyed, it is being revived, intensified and trying to overcome good. Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine began in 2014. Then, at the cost of incredible losses, Ukraine managed to suspend the aggressor, who was just waiting for another opportunity to achieve his goals. The democratic world took its first step then, but it was somewhat reminiscent of the late 1930s, when Nazi Germany’s offensive found no worthy resistance from Western democracies. The price was the Second World War with tens of millions of dead and wounded, destroyed cities and villages, broken destinies… And the result – a change in world order and the formation of a bipolar system of international relations.
Russia’s large-scale armed offensive against Ukraine began eight years after the latent hybrid war on February 24, 2022. Recent statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin have shown his desire not just to return the world to bipolarity, but actually to establish a monopolar world order in which Russia would play a leading role. And the world realizes that this war is existential. Its price is the very existence of democracy as such. It is symbolic that on the day of the victory on the Soviet holiday calendar – May 9, 2022 – President Joe Biden signed Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022, emphasizing: “We support Ukraine. These steps are costly, but hiding from aggression is even more expensive. Such a program was last time during World War II. Now Europe needs even more of our help”.
These two historical events – the First and Second US Laws on Lend-Lease (from the combination of the words “borrow”, “rent”) separates more than 81 years. The first Lend-Lease Act, under which the United States supplied its allies with ammunition, equipment, food and strategic raw materials, including petroleum products and supplies, was signed by US President Franklin Roosevelt on March 11, 1941. It should be recalled that at that time the United States had not yet taken part in World War II, but in the face of the danger of the Nazi-Fascist threat, they withdrew from the policy of neutrality and began to form an Anti-Hitler coalition. According to the 1941 law, to which the USSR (which included the Ukrainian SSR) joined in October-February 1942, the United States supplied 42 allied states with $ 50.1 billion in goods and weapons. (about 13% of all US military spending during the war or more than 50% of their exports), which at current exchange rates is about $ 700 billion. The United Kingdom received the most – 31.4 billion dollars, and the Soviet Union was second – 11.4 billion dollars (at the current exchange rate – about 180 billion dollars.). According to historians (e.g. I. Dereyko, V. Vyatrovych), the lease provided the needs of the Soviet army and industry by 16% in armored vehicles, 15.3% – in aircraft, 32.4% – in warships, 18.4% – in anti-aircraft artillery, more than 80% – in radar equipment, 66.1% – in trucks and cars, 80% – in medicines and medical equipment, more than 50% – in fuels and lubricants etc. Despite the desire of modern Russia to appropriate the victory over Nazism, the importance of aiding the lease to ensure first salvation, and then the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany is not denied even by post-Soviet Russian historiography. Finally, the Soviet debt on the lease (approximately 774 million dollars) was repaid by the Russian Federation in 2006.
The current Lend-Lease Act 2022 aims to protect Ukraine as a founding member of the United Nations, whose people, together with the peoples of all countries of the Anti-Hitler coalition, have made a significant contribution to the victory over Fascism and Nazism. With its treacherous aggression against Ukraine, Russia has tarnished the memory of the historic and fateful victory of the Allies in Europe and the world in the Anti-Hitler coalition in World War II. Today, the Ukrainian people are heroically fighting not only for the right to their own statehood, but also for the right to exist of the entire democratic world.
The Lend-Lease Act for Ukraine was publicly supported by legislators from both the Democratic and Republican parties. The text of the document refers to the expanded powers of the US President to transfer or lease to Ukraine various modern, including high-tech, weapons and defense products, in particular to protect the civilian population from Russian military invasion. In addition to armaments, Ukraine will receive a large amount of additional financial assistance. The President of the United States has already requested $ 33 billion from Congress for additional support of Ukraine. Of these, $ 20 billion will be provided to our state in the form of military assistance, the rest of the money will be allocated for economic and humanitarian support. The document also emphasizes that any loan or lease of defense products by the Government of Ukraine will have conditions for repayment, reimbursement repayment and repayment of a loan or lease. It should be noted that in Stuttgart, in the area of responsibility of the US European Command, a coordination center for the supply of military aid to Ukraine has already been established.
With many countries, including NATO and the EU, providing Ukraine with a large amount of military equipment, weapons, and other materials, The Lend-Lease Act aims to significantly increase US aid in quantitative and qualitative terms. The bill signed by the President of the United States, together with the decisions taken by Ukraine’s partner countries on April 26, 2022 in Ramstein, is of great historical significance of a general civilizational nature, as former Ukrainian Ambassador to Washington Valery Chaly aptly put it: “Russian aggression the destruction of Ukraine is finally perceived as an existential threat to European and world security”.
The Lend-Lease Act of 1941 eventually became one of the key factors in the complete defeat of Nazism and Fascism in Europe and the world. In our opinion, the signing of the The Lend-Lease Act of 2022 testifies to the conscious desire of Western democracies to ensure Ukraine’s speedy victory over modern aggressive Russian neo-Nazism, overcome the threat of nuclear blackmail from Russia and the deployment of a new global armed conflict. The key to this is the heroism and steadfastness of the Ukrainian people, the courage of its defenders and the help of allies in the best traditions of the Anti-Hitler coalition during World War II.