By Paul Goble
The US decision to establish a lend-lease program for Ukraine not only is “a very strong signal” that it will be supporting Ukraine over the long haul but also that an indication that the West is beginning to appreciate the crimes Putin’s war in Ukraine is committing that that in Russia itself is in deep trouble, Valery Kravchenko says.
Most people have focused on the way in which this new program will help Ukraine, not only by making it far easier for Kyiv to acquire more weapons but to begin training on those it may receive in the future, the director of Kyiv’s Center for International Security says (graniru.org/War/m.284921.html).
Those possibilities have been much discussed in the days since the Americans chose to revive a program they have not used since World War II. But the impact on Russia is broader than just that of the increased military capacity of Ukraine which will allow the latter’s forces to inflict far greater harm on the aggressor.
Even today, Russians remember that “thanks to lend lease, the Soviet Union defeated fascism” in World War II. But now they see lend lease is being used against Russia.” This sends “a strong message” that the war in Ukraine is not going as Moscow claims and that “the whole world” is now united against it and will remain so.
Lend lease is based on the proposition that the conflict will last for some time and that the West has to be in a position to ramp up assistance as needed and not be limited by Ukraine’s own ability to pay. That is perhaps the most important aspect of this program, Kravchenko continues, because it shows that the West will support Ukraine to the end.
“It is possible,” he says, that “the Russian economy will die much sooner. I would like to believe this and then the flow of money for Russia’s war will run out and centrifugal movement in Russia itself among the elites will being, possibly among the second echelon of generals who will end this insane war.”
It is, of course, even possible that things won’t have to go as far as that.