Liberal Democrats call on Biden to change strategy for Ukraine



CNN

More than two dozen Liberal House MPs are calling on President Joe Biden to change course in his Ukraine strategy and pursue direct diplomacy with Russia will end a conflict that has lasted for months.

In a letter Sent to Biden on Monday, the group of 30 Democrats praises Biden’s efforts to date to support Ukraine while avoiding direct U.S. involvement on the ground. But they suggest that a more forceful attempt to end the war through diplomacy is needed to avoid a long and arduous conflict.

“Given the destruction created by this war for Ukraine and the world, as well as the risk of catastrophic escalation, we also believe it is in the interest of Ukraine, the United States and the world avoid a protracted conflict,” the group said. , led by Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal, write in the letter. “For this reason, we urge you to combine the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push, redoubled efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire. ”

The letter comes at a critical time in the war, as Russia increasingly targets civilian infrastructure with particular emphasis on cutting off power to Ukrainian citizens before winter.

In Congress, questions have swirled about the willingness of lawmakers to maintain massive financial and military support for Ukraine. Some Republicans have threatened to cut aid to the country if they take control of Congress in November.

The Liberal Democrats, in their letter, say more direct attempts to engage Moscow in diplomacy were needed as the war drags on.

“We are under no illusions about the difficulties in engaging Russia given its outrageous and illegal invasion of Ukraine and its decision to proceed with further illegal annexations of Ukrainian territory,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, if there is a way to end the war while preserving a free and independent Ukraine, it is America’s responsibility to pursue all diplomatic avenues to support such a solution that is acceptable to the people. Ukrainian.”

John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator at the National Security Council, said the White House received the letter.

“We certainly appreciate the sentiments expressed by these members of Congress,” Kirby said.

“We worked with members of Congress throughout this process, particularly when we needed additional funds to meet Ukraine’s defense needs,” Kirby said. “And it was done in full and transparent collaboration with members of Congress. And that’s exactly how the president wants to keep moving forward.

Still, Kirby said there was no indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin was willing to engage in serious diplomacy to end the war.

“When you see and listen to his rhetoric, and you see the other things, whether it’s atrocities, war crimes, airstrikes against civilian infrastructure that the Russians are committing, it’s clear that Mr. Putin is in no mood to negotiate,” he added. said Kirby.

He said it would be up to Ukraine and its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, when the time came to return to the negotiating table.

“Mr. Zelensky can determine when he thinks the time is right, and Mr. Zelensky can determine, because this is his country, what success looks like, what victory looks like and on what terms he is ready. to negotiate,” Kirby said. “We’re not going to dictate that.”

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