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Ernst Backs Bipartisan Bill to Help Ukraine Deter Russian Invasion

The Iowa senator said, “On the ground in Poland last week, I heard the same message from Ukrainian refugees and Ukrainian civil society leaders—they can win this fight if we help them win this fight…”

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a combat veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is backing a bipartisan bill to help provide the Ukrainian military the equipment they need to defend their country from Russia’s unjust, unprovoked invasion.
“To the surprise of Vladimir Putin, and much of the rest of the world, Ukrainians have fought back valiantly against Russia’s unjust and unprovoked invasion. On the ground in Poland last week, I heard the same message from Ukrainian refugees and Ukrainian civil society leaders—they can win this fight if we help them win this fight, but they need more lethal aid now,” said Senator Ernst. “Defending freedom in Ukraine is defending freedom everywhere, and this bipartisan legislation will help the United States provide the Ukrainians with the weapons needed to defeat Putin and his cronies and protect their citizens.”
As part of his 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 inadequate for the current crisis facing Ukraine.
The Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act would authorize the President to enter into lend-lease agreements directly with Ukraine to help remove obstacles to lending arms to Ukraine. It would not create a new program but would streamline the President’s current authority to lend the defense articles necessary to defend civilian populations in Ukraine. In addition, this legislation would:
  • Require the President to certify to the appropriate congressional committee that any military equipment provided under this authority is necessary to protect vulnerable civilian populations;
  • Require the President or his designee to establish expedited delivery procedures for any military equipment loaned or leased to Ukraine to ensure timely delivery to Ukraine;
  • Categorize any cyberattack on major critical infrastructure originating from within Russia against Ukraine to be treated as an armed attack by Russia; and
  • Remain in effect until Russia restores its troops’ presence on the Ukraine border to pre-March 2021 levels.
Last weekend, Senator Ernst led a bipartisan Senate delegation visit to Poland and Germany and met with military leaders, Ukrainian civil society, refugees and NGOs, and U.S. State Department personnel. Ernst has continued to press the Biden administration to immediately provide Ukraine with the lethal aid they urgently need to win the war against Vladimir Putin.