U.S. Rejects Putin's Intimidation, Ramps Up Weapons Delivery to Ukraine

President Joe Biden is set to sign the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act on Monday, which is aimed at further supporting Ukraine militarily in its resistance to Russia's invasion.

The bill, expected to be signed at about 2:45 p.m., will grant the president more authority to provide the Ukrainian government with military equipment and streamline the process. It will allow the United States to send the equipment to Ukraine now, requiring payment at a later date. The bill could help shift the balance in the war, with Biden able to provide weapons to Ukraine at any point.

In signing the bill, Biden will also be sending a strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has tried to intimidate the Western powers for their support of Ukraine.

Biden set to sign Lend-Lease Act
President Joe Biden was set to sign lend-lease legislation to further assist Ukraine with military aid on Monday afternoon. Above, Biden speaks in Cincinnati on Friday. Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Russia has demanded that the United States stop sending military equipment to Ukraine as the country struggles to make progress in its invasion, which began at the end of February. Thus far, Russia has failed to seize control of major cities like Kyiv, Ukraine's capital.

Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, has accused the United States of "trying to raise the stakes even more and aggravate the situation" by sending weapons to Ukraine since the war began.

The signing of the bill on Monday is seen as symbolic. Monday is Victory Day in Russia, which commemorates the nation's defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of World War II in Europe.

Putin is using this year's Victory Day to both celebrate Russia's military power and defend the Ukraine conflict, despite his forces' failure to swiftly overcome the country. The signing of the lend-lease act could mean more military setbacks for Russia as the Ukrainians' fierce resistance continues in places like the besieged port city of Mariupol.

The Lend-Lease program was used during World War II to provide military aid to U.S. allies such as the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union to assist them in their war against Nazi Germany. It was passed in March 1941 and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Ukraine lend-lease bill passed the House of Representatives on April 29. Just 10 Republicans voted against it, saying the bill's language was too broad. The measure passed the Senate unanimously.

The bill received support from Ukrainian leaders. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba offered praise on Twitter, writing: "Grateful to the U.S. Senate for passing the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act. Important first step towards a lend-lease program to expedite the delivery of military equipment to Ukraine. Looking forward to its swift passage in the House and signing by the U.S. President."

So far, the United States has twice approved aid packages for Ukraine, including nearly $14 billion in March. That package included humanitarian assistance, defense equipment and economic support. An $800 million package of military aid was announced in April and was accompanied by $500 million in direct economic assistance.