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More than two dozen liberal members of the House are calling on US President Joe Biden to change course in his Ukraine strategy.
Instead, they suggest he pursue direct diplomacy with Russia to end the months-long conflict.
A group of 30 Democrats sent a letter to Biden early this week.
They praised the President’s efforts to support Ukraine without direct US involvement.
However, they suggest a more vigorous effort to end the war through diplomacy, deeming it necessary to avoid a lengthy conflict.
Congressional Progressive Caucus chairwoman Pramila Jayapal led the group and helped write the letter.
“Given the destruction created by this war for Ukraine and the world, as well as the risk of catastrophic escalation,” the letter began.
“We also believe it is in the interest of Ukraine, the United States, and the world to avoid a prolonged conflict.”
“For this reason, we urge you to pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to see a realistic framework for a ceasefire.”
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The letter was written at a crucial time in the war.
Russia is increasingly targeting civilian infrastructure to cut off power to Ukrainian citizens before winter.
Meanwhile, US lawmakers are raising questions about Ukraine’s continued financial and military support.
Some Republicans are threatening to cut aid if they win Congress in November.
However, Liberal Democrats argue that while the war raged, direct attempts to engage Moscow in diplomacy were necessary.
They also point this out in the letter.
“We are under no illusions regarding the difficulties involved in engaging Russia given its outrageous and illegal invasion of Ukraine and its decision to make additional illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory.”
“However, if there is a way to end the war while preserving a free and independent Ukraine,” the letter continued.
“It is America’s responsibility to pursue every diplomatic avenue to support such a solution that is acceptable to the people of Ukraine.”
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Russia and Ukraine
Strategic Communications Coordinator at the National Security Council, John Kirby, confirmed that the White House had received the letter.
“We certainly appreciate the sentiments expressed by these members of Congress,” said Kirby.
“We have been working with members of Congress throughout this entire process, especially when we have needed additional funding to support Ukraine’s defense needs.”
John Kirby says there is no indication that Vladimir Putin will engage in serious diplomacy to end the war.
“When you see and listen to his rhetoric, and you see the other things,” Kirby started.
“Be they atrocities, the war crimes, the airstrikes against civilian infrastructures that the Russians are committing; it’s clear Mr. Putin is in no mood to negotiate.”
John Kirby says it’s up to Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelensky to decide when to return to the negotiating table.
“Mr. Zelensky gets to determine when he thinks that’s the right time,” he elaborated.
“[And] Mr. Zelensky gets to determine because it’s his country, what success looks like, what victory looks like, and what sort of terms he’s willing to negotiate on.”
“We’re not going to dictate that,” Kirby concluded.