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When Ukraine will start using lend-lease: the answer of the ambassador to the USA

17 Jul, 2022
When Ukraine will start using lend-lease: the answer of the ambassador to the USA

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Currently, US budget programs funding is sufficient to provide military support to Ukraine actively. And lend-lease is an additional tool that Ukraine will use more action if necessary.

Oksana Markarova, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the USA, told about this in an interview with "Voice of America".

"At the moment, our priority is to provide security assistance to Ukraine, for which they will not need to pay back later." This is how the White House answered the Voice of America's question about the status of the Lend-Lease program for Ukraine. The Ukrainian Service of the State Administration asked Oksana Markarova, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, about this in more detail. In particular, it was about when the lend-lease program would start and how Ukraine ensures supervision of the supply and use of American military aid.

According to the diplomat, currently, the financing of US budget programs is sufficient to provide military support to Ukraine actively.

The latest deliveries of American weapons to Ukraine are carried out under the USAI program (Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative) and the program of presidential powers. The decision of the Congress provides these funds. It is a package worth 40 billion dollars, which includes funds for defense assistance and related expenses.

"The position of the Pentagon is that now, when these programs of actual grant, free transfer of weapons to us - the focus will be on them. The Pentagon's focus now is to find the weapons we need as quickly as possible and provide them to us through these programs," says Oksana Markarova.

"Lend-Lease is an additional tool, which we hope to use more actively in case of need when we see that funds from other programs are ending. Then there will be two options. Either we quickly plug Lend-Lease at this point, or we go back to Congress with additional requests. More precisely, we appeal to the US administration, and the administration appeals to Congress", - explains the ambassador of Ukraine to the United States.

Funds allocated by Congress for Ukraine must be used by the end of the US fiscal year, which ends in September. However, Oksana Markarova cautiously suggests they may run out even before that.

"It is difficult to say when these funds will run out - we want them to be given to us as soon as possible. Perhaps they will end even earlier - but at the moment, it is difficult to talk about it", - says the diplomat.

According to her, in its requests to the USA, Ukraine now emphasizes long-range artillery, MLRS, combat drones, counter-battery means and other systems. However, the list of necessary equipment does not end there.

"We need anti-tank weapons, demining equipment, fuel, and spare parts… Coordination is taking place at the level of the head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, and the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksiy Reznikov, and at the level of General Zaluzhny and his colleague, General Mark Millie. But the same coordination takes place in fact, at every level of cooperation. And I can say that the Pentagon responds quite flexibly to our needs."

Recently, some American legislators - in particular, Congresswoman Victoria Spartz - expressed concern about the oversight of the supply of American weapons to Ukraine.

Oksana Markarova says she fully understands such concerns since the USA allocates huge sums of taxpayers' money to Ukraine. According to her, for its part, Ukraine is doing everything possible to ensure maximum transparency and reporting.

"I am involved in all communications. I can't tell about everyone, but I don't remember the level of cooperation, understanding and mutual transparency that we have now. There is no day that we do not exchange information - including from our side," says Markarova.

"The fact that in such a difficult situation we manage together with our partners so efficiently and not only to deliver weapons to our borders but also to transport them across the border and transport them is a great merit", - the diplomat believes.

She says that Ukraine provides partners with a complete understanding of how it uses funds and weapons - as much as possible in conditions of active hostilities. In addition to exchanging information with the Pentagon and the White House, the Ukrainian authorities constantly inform Congress.

"This was an initiative of the Ukrainian side. When the first tranches for the Ukrainian budget began to be allocated to us, we provided full reporting as soon as these funds were exchanged for hryvnias and spent. Not only to the US administration, USAID, and the World Bank, through whose account these funds go. We send the same reporting to Congress - the World Bank does it separately."

Markarova says that Ukraine uses US financial aid for the budget, mostly for military expenses. According to her, the non-military ones include pensions, doctor payments, teachers' salaries, etc.

"When it comes to weapons, we exchange information very clearly. And for our part, we have repeatedly stated that we are ready to show our partners - not only the USA - everything on the ground in Ukraine," says Oksana Markarova.

She is convinced that proper transparency is in the common interests of Ukraine and the USA:

"On the Ukrainian side, there will definitely be no delay here. We are grateful to our partners for all the help provided - and we understand that transparency in use guarantees that this help will continue to be provided."

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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