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BREAKING: Shaheen-Led Legislation to Counter Russian Aggression Against Ukraine, Speed Up Military Assistance Clears Senate

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement following Senate-passage of bipartisan legislation to provide the President with the enhanced authority to more swiftly enter into lend-lease agreements directly with Ukraine and Eastern European countries, and expedite the delivery of military equipment required by Ukraine to defend against the Russian military invasion. Shaheen introduced the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act with Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) in January. It will now be considered by the House of Representatives.

“As the war in Ukraine unfolds, delivering military aid as quickly as possible is pivotal for Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Putin’s unprovoked attacks. The Kremlin is committing horrific assaults throughout the nation on civilian infrastructure and targeting innocent men, women and children. As the world bears witness to the most serious security threat to Europe and our global stability since World War II, this legislation to speed up the process of moving military equipment to the frontlines couldn’t be more urgent,” said Shaheen. “I appreciate the bipartisan support to pass our legislation in the Senate and urge the House to swiftly follow suit. As this crisis rapidly escalates and Putin bears down on Ukraine, every minute counts.”

As part of the Arms Export Control Act authority, the President can currently lend and lease defense articles to U.S. partners and allies when it is in the United States’ national security interest. However, bureaucratic barriers and other limitations make these authorities impractical for the current crisis facing Ukraine. 

This enhanced lend-lease authority would be specific to Ukraine and Eastern European countries to help remove obstacles to lending arms. It would not create a new program, but would streamline the President’s current authority to lend the defense articles needed by Ukraine and Eastern European countries and expedite the delivery of defense articles to Ukraine. This enhanced authority would remain in effect through fiscal year 2023.

Senator Shaheen has led action in the U.S. Senate in support of Ukraine in response to Vladimir Putin’s belligerence, which also threatens the stability and security of Eastern Europe and NATO allies. Last month, Shaheen and members of the Senate Ukraine Caucus met with Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, and members of the Ukrainian Parliament. In February, Shaheen led a successful bipartisan effort with Portman to pass a resolution that conveys a renewed and overwhelmingly bipartisan message from the U.S. Senate in fierce support of Ukraine. Earlier this year, Shaheen and Portman led a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine, where they met with President Zelenskyy and members of his administration. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she supported the inclusion of $13.6 billion in security assistance that was part of government funding legislation signed into law by President Biden.

Senator Shaheen has long led efforts in the Senate to hold Russia accountable for its malign activity against the U.S. and its allies. Because of her role as a negotiator on Russia sanctions legislation known as “CAATSA” and her successful efforts to ban Kaspersky Lab software from operating on U.S. systems, Shaheen was sanctioned by the Kremlin in 2017. Before the Shaheen-Portman congressional delegation visit to Ukraine in January, Shaheen led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, last June.