US Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham proposed turning the aid package to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan into a loan, where Kyiv can pay back the US with its vast mineral resources.

In an interview with CBS News, Graham said that “Europeans gave Ukraine $50 billion, 33 of it was a loan,” and that Washington should pursue a similar path as it is “$34 trillion in debt.”

“Ukraine has minerals, have a lot of resources. Israel has a strong economy. They’d been hurt badly by October the 7th. Taiwan is a pretty rich nation. Why don't we do this make a favorable loan to all three of these allies?” said Graham, meanwhile reiterating Republicans’ stern position on border control, on which the diverging stance between the two parties has borne no fruit.

The $60 billion aid package for Ukraine could be lifesaving for Kyiv as it struggles with munition shortages across the front, which has led to the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops in Avdiivka after months of fierce fighting.

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Graham said the idea came from former President Donald Trump, who on Feb. 10 said that aid for Ukraine should not go through unless it’s restructured as a loan.

Ukraine’s mineral reserves

Ukraine possesses one of the largest mineral deposits in Europe, which some have suspected to be the driving force behind Russia’s invasion.

Prior to the full-scale invasion, Ukraine was the fifth largest iron ore exporter in the world at $6.8 billion in 2021; the same year, Ukrainian ilmenite – a mineral used to produce titanium – accounted for about 5 percent of global titanium production.

US General Warns Congress Time Running Out to Aid Ukraine
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US General Warns Congress Time Running Out to Aid Ukraine

The top US general in Europe told Congress on Wednesday that Ukraine will run out of artillery and air defense “in fairly short order” without US support, leaving them vulnerable to defeat.

Among the vast reserves of minerals included graphite and lithium, where the latter comprised a third of Europe’s reserve with Kyiv planning to utilize it to kickstart its domestic electric car industry.

At present, the combined mineral reserves in Ukraine are worth trillions of dollars – $12.4 trillion alone in occupied territories, according to a Washington Post report.

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As the majority of mineral reserves are located in the eastern regions, failing to liberate the occupied territories could also mean seeing Moscow effectively steal a significant portion of resources that could help rebuild the country.

Paying back with minerals

Paying back the loan with minerals, however, is a more nuanced question.

Depending on how Kyiv will have to pay back the loan, be it granting foreign investors control over the deposits or through income generated by selling the end products, the results could be very different for Kyiv.

Even though Ukraine possesses a vast amount of mineral resources beneath its surface, utilizing them – namely to survey, extract and convert the materials – would require international investment and expertise, a direction Kyiv has been pursuing for some time.

Some of the practices could be found in a presentation created by the Ukrainian government, which outlined the main mineral deposits in Ukraine, as well as current and future initiatives to utilize them through international investments.

While Ukraine has a history of extracting and producing iron, other minerals such as lithium remained mostly untapped, and millions of dollars of investment are needed in order to survey the deposits properly and extract them, according to Denys Alyoshin, director of strategic development of UkrLithium Production LLC, in a column for Interfax.

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Being able to create and sell the end product – batteries, in the case of lithium – would present the highest economic margin, but Ukraine lacks the ability to do so alone at present.

With that in mind, it is possible that Ukraine will have to relinquish control over the deposits, depending on the terms of repayment set – a decision that could cost Ukraine trillions of dollars in the future.

Preserving lives and the future of the nation in exchange for a significant portion of the nation’s future wealth is an issue Ukraine will have to address if the plans go through.

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Comments (8)

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John
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Unlike the other poster calling themselves "John" below, I am not an American

However as a long time neighbour and avid USA news follower, I feel Mr. Graham's comments sadly sounds like all too many too many republicans these days. What's in it for me? At least in his case though Lindsay seems to also really want to help Ukraine..... Guess he's straddling that space between former globally revered Reagan style and global despised (accept in russia) putinrump style politicians.

Seemingly, many Republicans left in congress appear to be ones who want to either sow dissent and start a civl war (putinrumps MRGA party) or simply isolate from the world until they can figure out a way to personally profit abroad. What happened to the old school republicans who offered support just because it was the right thing to do?

There are presently 31 allied nations that on a GDP basis are contributing more support to Ukraine that the USA. To my knowledge none are asking for something in return.

For shame Senator Graham and those of like mind!

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CEESBOOGAART
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ofc like USA, China always do, give "help" and then enslave countries, like Iraq

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Joseph Swanson
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The republicans are finding all sorts of ways to deny Ukraine help.
First it was...we got our own problems.
Second, Ukraine is the most corrupt nation on the planet.
Third, they are selling military weapons to Mexican drug cartels.
Fourth, our border must be secured first.
Fifth, now its we will give loan(s) instead.
Great idea...offer loans to a war torn nation that is struggling to survive...knowing it will most likely not be able to afford the interest payments on the loan(s) but then accept their natural resources / minerals instead, guaranteeing that nation will be poor long after the war AND then when that nation says they cannot do the loan(s) the republicans will turn around and tell the world..."See...see... we offered to help Ukraine but they said no."

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Michael
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OMG, more commenters here are insisting on fighting their internal US partisan battles, when Ukraine needs ammo NOW. What should we care about what Bush, Obama, Bill/Hilary Clinton, Trump and Biden did or didn't do. Ukraine is clinging on to its embattled front line for dear life. Can't the US just get its act together, and actually demonstrate why it is a country that is worthwhile for the rest of the world to look up to and support?

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808 ER doc
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A plan cooked up by the "King of Defaults" Lindsay? And you bought it? Just get off your butt and pass funding for Ukraine!

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Hope
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Countries, especially the developed ones , do their best to have long term planning and put into practice what favors their global influence economically and geo-politically ...

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John
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The United States is each and all terrorists’ primary target. After the next 9-11, how about all other countries respond to U.S. pleas for a “coalition response” with demands for liens on U.S. gold reserves, or uranium-rich real estate in New Mexico? What an asinine, selfish, self-defeating, and short-sighted proposal from another Trumpist. As an American, I am embarrassed by these spineless Republican catamites.

Philip Tummarello
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@John, The vast uranium resources of the United States were given to putin by none other than HILLARY CLINTON, Secretary of State for the Obama-Biden administration who orchestrated the whole betrayal.
Trump was a private international businessman at the time and had nothing to do with it. Chase Trump's ghost as you will but at least make an honest attempt to be truthful comrade.

John
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@Philip Tummarello, Sorry, Sir. Your “truth” regarding uranium is, in fact, a vastly ill-informed overstatement. Additionally, the point was that Republicans’ transactional approach to everything — which Sen. Graham himself ascribes to Trump — is unworthy of an America that seeks to be on the side of righteousness and goodness. It’s the kind of sordid crap that certain European predators practiced against Jews who had already been deprived of their homes and livelihoods, demanding that they surrender their remaining possessions in order to be sheltered or not exposed. That may be the world to which you aspire. It is not the one that I was raised to value.

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Mouse
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When the republicans in the USA decided to attack Iraq, they lied to us, claiming that Sadam had weapons of mass destruction. As we found out later, it was all about getting their hands on Iraq’s natural resources. The bills of the fall out of their invasion (the refugees, the rise of Isis and the danger to European security), were payed by Europeans.

Today, most of the money that the USA gives to Ukraine, flows back in American coffers, as it is spend on US made military hardware. A good deal for the Americans, but not enough for the republicans who now also feel they are entitled to Ukraine’s post war wealth, should they be victorious.

Maybe the US and the EU can make a deal. The US supports Ukraine without any additional demands and the EU will keep taking care of the Iraqi, Syrian and Afghan refugees that are currently living with us. If however the US republicans insist on having a purely transactional relationship with the EU, those refugees should travel on to the US, as it has been their actions that made them flee their homes.

Philip Tummarello
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@Mouse, The "lie" was presented to President GW Bush as a "slam dunk" by the head of the CIA then George Tenant, who now is in exile in France. Mr. Tenant was placed in his position by President Bill Clinton. Bush retained him in his administration as a sign of cooperation with Democrats. Additionally "the lie" was repeated ad nauseum by members of the congress and senate who virtually ALL supported the use of force resolution in Iraq, DEMOCRATS too, as they made their individual public statements for the television cameras with Hillary Clinton amongst them. Yet "the lie" you castigate parallels your own here today. No cheese for you, Mouse.

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