A group of 30 House liberals is urging President Biden to dramatically shift his strategy on the Ukraine war and pursue direct negotiations with Russia, the first time prominent members of his own party have pushed him to change his approach to Ukraine.
The letter, sent to the White House on Monday and obtained by The Washington Post, could create more pressure on Biden as he tries to sustain domestic support for the war effort, at a time when the region is heading into a potentially difficult winter and Republicans are threatening to cut aid to Ukraine if they retake Congress.
In a letter led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the 30 Democrats call on Biden to pair the unprecedented economic and military support the United States is providing Ukraine with a “proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.” [Continue reading…]
Bloomberg reports that after the letter drew criticism, its authors offered some clarification:
The progressives indicated that they were not backing away from support for Ukraine. In the follow-up statement, Jayapal, of Washington State, said the group wasn’t backing away from support for Ukraine or from Biden’s approach, calling diplomacy “just one tool.”
“Let me be clear,” Jayapal said, “we are united as Democrats in our unequivocal commitment to supporting Ukraine in their fight for their democracy and freedom in the face of the illegal and outrageous Russian invasion, and nothing in the letter advocates for a change in that support.”
The White House on Monday said that its position was that there would be no talks with Russia without a decision by Ukraine to pursue them.
“It’s clear Mr. Putin is in no mood to negotiate,” John Kirby, a spokesman for Biden’s National Security Council, said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “We’re not going to have conversations with Russian leadership without the Ukrainians being represented.”
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy “gets to determine when he thinks that’s the right time” for negotiations, Kirby said.
Some Democrats took a dim view of the call for negotiations. Representative Ruben Gallego of Arizona tweeted in response to the progressives’ letter that the way to end a war is, “Win it quickly. How is it won quickly? By giving Ukraine the weapons to defeat Russia.” [Continue reading…]