While the party was unanimous in arming Kyiv, a small caucus now wants President Biden to continue negotiations
About 30 Democratic representatives in Washington have urged President Joe Biden to seek diplomatic means to end the conflict in Ukraine, including “direct talks with Russia.” However, the Democratic Party leadership is still determined to arm kyiv for the long term.
In a letter to the White House on Monday, Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (Washington) quoted the “destruction” of Ukraine, the threat of nuclear war and the economic turmoil in Europe are all reasons to seek a negotiated settlement.
While the final decision on when to return to the negotiating table rests with Ukraine, Jayapal added, the fact that the United States has poured tens of billions of dollars into keeping kyiv afloat “creates a responsibility for the United States to seriously explore all possible avenues, including direct engagement with Russia, to reduce harm and help Ukraine reach a peaceful resolution.”
The letter ended by again urging Biden to open “direct talks with Russia” without suggesting what kind of compromise lawmakers think Ukraine should make for peace.
Among the signers of the letter were prominent progressives Ro Khanna (Pennsylvania), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York).
The Biden administration has so far allocated more than $60 billion in military and economic aid to Kyiv since February, and Congress is expected to pass another $50 billion aid package before January. Democrats in the House and Senate voted unanimously in favor of a $40 billion aid package in May, but Jayapal’s letter suggests Biden could now face opposition over his policy of the left, as well as the vocal minority of Republicans who voted against the $40 billion aid tranche.
However, Biden himself has vowed to keep the arms tap open. “as long as it takes” and declared that Ukraine would decide for itself on its terms of peace. Democratic leadership is in step, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying at a pro-Ukrainian summit in Croatia on Monday that the United States “Support for Ukraine is bipartisan” and “Won’t stop.”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky also promised not to negotiate with Russia while Russian President Vladimir Putin is in power, and pledged to seize the four regions that recently joined the Russian Federation, as well as Crimea, who voted to join Russia in 2014. .
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