Pelosi reaffirms US support for Ukraine ‘until victory is won’ after progressive lawmakers push for talks with Russia

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued an implicit rebuke of progressive lawmakers.
  • Pelosi reaffirmed US support for Ukraine after 30 lawmakers called for the US to hold direct talks with Russia.
  • The speaker said US support would remain “until victory is won.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday that US support for Ukraine will continue ‘until victory is won,’ an implicit rebuke of progressive lawmakers who just a day earlier pushed the White House to talk with Russia.

“Under President Biden, our support for Ukraine – and our determination to defend democracy – is here to stay until victory is won. Slava Ukraini!” Pelosi said in a statement that also praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s “courageous and patriotic leadership.”

The speaker’s vow comes amid a series of conflicting messages from congressional leaders over long and how robust US support will be as Ukraine continues to repel Russia’s invasion. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has implied that Republicans may curtail US support for Ukraine if they regain the majority in upcoming midterms.

The letter written by 30 House progressive lawmakers to President Joe Biden did not threaten future aid. But the lawmakers’ urging of a “proactive diplomatic push” for talks with Russia caught many by surprise.

Their message also contrasted with the administration’s long-held view that Ukraine must be part of any discussions. “Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” as Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington-state Democrat, led the letter to Biden that made clear that such a diplomatic push should be paired with military support the US has provided since the start of the war. In total, the US has sent more than $60 billion in military, humanitarian, and economic assistance.

Within hours of the letter’s publication, Jaypal sent out another statement as criticism within her own party started to mount. The subsequent statement makes clear that progressive lawmakers were not trying to undercut the administration.

“Diplomacy is an important tool that can save lives — but it is just one tool,” Jayapal, who leads the House Progressive Caucus, said in a statement that was described as “clarifying” the initial letter. “As we also made explicitly clear in our letter and will continue to make clear, we support President Biden and his administration’s commitment to nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.”

McCarthy, who is in line to become the Speaker of the House if Republicans retake the chamber, sparked his own intra-party feud last week. He suggested that a Republican-led House would not issue a “blank check” for aid to Ukraine, particularly if the US economy struggles. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell then released his own statement making clear that aid to Ukraine would continue.

It is worth noting that US officials have talked with Russians since the war began. These interactions are rare though. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called his Kremlin counterpart on Sunday.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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