The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who visited Ukraine last week, stated “the war will end when the Russian Federation decides to end it” and when there is, after a ceasefire, a possibility of serious political agreement.
“We can have all the meetings we want, but that is not what will end the war,” Guterres said, adding that he will support the international criminal court and appeal for cooperation with them.
“War is an absurdity in the 21st century – war is evil, and when you see these situations, our hearts, of course, stay with the victims, our condolences go out to their families. But our emotions – there is no way war can be acceptable in the 21st century,” he said.
US and the Lend-Lease Act
The administration of the US president Joe Biden has appealed to Congress for an initiative to freeze the assets of Russian oligarchs and use them to help Ukraine. Also, the administration appealed to Congress to allocate $33 billion to help Ukraine.
The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly backed legislation last Thursday that will make it easier to export military equipment to Ukraine, reviving the “Lend-Lease Act” that helped defeat Hitler during World War Two.
The House passed the “Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022” by 417 to 10, three weeks after it sailed through the Senate with unanimous support. It next goes to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law.
“We have heard clearly from Ukrainian President Zelensky: Ukraine desperately needs more military aid to sustain its fight for sovereignty and defend its civilian population,” said Rep. John Katko, one of the bill’s cosponsors. “I cosponsored this bill and was proud to support it on the House floor because it will expand our nation’s ability to expeditiously deliver additional defense articles to the Government of Ukraine as they fight back against Vladimir Putin’s barbaric and unlawful invasion. This is a necessary step to protect the future of Ukraine and the safety of its people.”
The World War II-era lend-lease program was viewed as a pivotal tool that allowed for the allies’ victory against Nazi Germany. It allowed the US government to lend or lease war supplies, rather than selling them, to any country deemed vital to the United States’ defense. The aid particularly helped Great Britain in its battle against Nazi Germany.
The bill’s passage comes as President Biden urged Congress to swiftly pass a $33 billion assistance package for Ukraine as it continues to block Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assault. The White House says nearly all of the $3.5 billion in drawdown authority Congress provided last month for military assistance is depleted.
“The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen,” the President said in remarks from the White House Thursday morning. “We either back the Ukrainian people as they defend their country, or we stand by as the Russians continue their atrocities and aggression in Ukraine.”
Ukraine Demands Security Guarantees
Ukraine has asked its international partners to decide which security guarantees they are ready to provide the country in case of any aggression in the future.
“Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons for the sake of world peace. We have then been knocking on NATO’s door, but it never opened. The security vacuum led to Russian aggression. The world owes Ukraine security and we ask states to decide which security guarantees they are ready to provide,” Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba posted on Twitter.
As Ukrinform reported, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on April 28 that after the Budapest Memorandum had demonstrated its ineffectiveness, Ukraine sought to draft a fundamental document on security guarantees which would provide utmost and real protection to Ukraine. The Head of State noted that the draft document was currently being prepared at the level of security advisers to the leaders of countries which would later become guarantors of Ukraine’s security.
The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances comprises three identical political agreements signed at the OSCE conference in Budapest, Hungary, on 5 December 1994, to provide security assurances by its signatories relating to the accession of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The memorandum was originally signed by three nuclear powers: the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The memorandum prohibited the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States from threatening or using military force or economic coercion against Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, “except in self-defense or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.” As a result of other agreements and the memorandum, between 1993 and 1996, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons.