The scheme to send US weapons to Ukraine, using the “lend-lease” formula pioneered during WWII to skirt neutrality laws, was officially approved by Congress this week. However, it was put together all the way back in January – more than a month before Moscow recognized the Donbass republics as independent and sent troops into Ukraine.
Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, also known as S.3522, on January 19, 2022. This is according to the official Congress.gov page for the bill. On the same date, it was co-sponsored by senators Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).
Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) endorsed it the very next day, January 20. Other endorsements trickled in over the following weeks, with a total of 14 senators on board by February 9, again according to Congress.gov.
Russia did not recognize the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk until February 21. The “special military operation” to demilitarize Ukraine began on what was already February 24 in Washington.