Liberal US lawmakers withdraw letter to Ukraine after backlash

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – A group of liberal U.S. Democrats has withdrawn a letter to the White House calling for a negotiated settlement to the war in Ukraine, the group’s chairwoman, Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal, said on Tuesday after a return of flame from within theirs. to party.

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus hereby withdraws its recent letter to the White House regarding Ukraine,” Jayapal said in a statement. She added: “The letter was written several months ago, but was unfortunately posted by staff without verification.” Read more

The letter signed by 30 caucus members became public on Monday, leaving some other Democrats feeling off guard just two weeks before the Nov. 8 midterm elections that will determine which political party controls Congress. And it appeared just like Republicans are worried that their party could cut military and humanitarian aid that has helped Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February.

Several members of the Progressive Caucus issued statements expressing their support for Ukraine, noting that they had joined other Democrats in voting for billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine.

Some said they had signed the letter months earlier and things had changed. “Timing in diplomacy is everything. I signed this letter on June 30, but a lot has changed since then. I would not sign it today,” Rep. Sara Jacobs said on Twitter.

Representative Jamie Raskin, who also signed, said in a statement that he was happy to hear he was pulled and noted “his unfortunate timing and other flaws.”

Ukrainian troops were carry out a successful counter-offensive, with forces advancing into the Russian-occupied province of Kherson and threatening a major defeat for Moscow.

‘BLANK CHECK’

The letter prompted immediate pushback, including from the progressive caucus. “Russia does not recognize diplomacy, only force. If we want Ukraine to continue as the free and democratic country that it is, we must support their fight,” said Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego, a member of the caucus, in a written comment.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, told Punchbowl News in an interview this month that there would be no “blank check” for Ukraine if Republicans took over. This has fueled speculation that Republicans may stop aid to Kyiv, although many party members have said that was not their intention.

In his statement withdrawing the letter, Jayapal said that due to the timing, the letter was mistaken as equivalent to McCarthy’s remark.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Every war ends in diplomacy, and this one will also after the Ukrainian victory. The letter sent yesterday, while reaffirming this basic principle, was confused with the GOP opposition to supporting Ukrainians’ just defense of their national sovereignty. As such, it is a distraction at this time and we withdraw the letter,” Jayapal’s statement said.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Democrats and Republicans support continued aid to Ukraine and that he did not believe the letter would question US support.

“Over the past few days we’ve heard from Democrats, we’ve heard from Republicans, that they understand the need to continue to support Ukraine, to stand up for the principles that are at stake here,” he said during a meeting. a press briefing.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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