Liberal US lawmakers withdraw Ukraine letter

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – U.S. liberal Democrats have withdrawn a letter to the White House urging a negotiated solution to the war in Ukraine, the group’s leader, Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal, said on Tuesday. Party.

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus retracts its recent letter to the White House regarding Ukraine,” Jayapal said in a statement. He added: “The letter was drawn up several months ago but was unfortunately published without being verified by staff.”

The letter, signed by 30 House members, went public Monday, leaving some other Democrats feeling blindsided two weeks before the Nov. 8 midterm elections, which will determine which political party controls Congress. It comes as Republicans face concerns that their party could end the military and humanitarian aid that has helped Ukraine since Russia invaded in February.

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

Some said they had signed the letter a few months ago and things had changed. “Timing is everything in diplomacy. I signed this letter on June 30, but a lot has changed since then. I will not be signing it today,” Rep. Sarah Jacobs said on Twitter.

Signatory representative Jamie Raskin said in a statement that he was pleased to learn of its withdrawal and noted its “unfortunate timing and other shortcomings.”

Ukraine’s troops are launching a successful counteroffensive, with forces advancing into Russian-occupied Kherson province, threatening a major defeat for Moscow.

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‘blank cheque’

The letter caused an immediate pushback, including from the Progressive Caucus. “Russia does not accept diplomacy, only force. If Ukraine wants to remain a free and democratic country, we must support their struggle,” Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, a caucus member, said in a written statement.

Top House Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy said in an interview with Punchbowl News this month that Ukraine would not have a “blank test” if Republicans took over. There has been speculation that Republicans may end aid to Kiev, although many members of the party have said that is not their intention.

Jayapal, who retracted the letter, said in his statement that because of the timing, the letter was being linked to McCarthy’s comments.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Every war ends with diplomacy, and this one will end after a Ukrainian victory. The letter sent yesterday, while reiterating that basic principle, is linked to GOP opposition to supporting the legitimate defense of Ukrainians. Their national sovereignty is a distraction at this time and we are withdrawing the letter. ,” Jayapal said in a statement.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said both Democrats and Republicans support continued aid to Ukraine and he did not think the letter would call US support into question.

“In recent days, we’ve heard from Democrats, we’ve heard from Republicans that they understand the need to continue to stand with Ukraine, to stand up for the principles at play here,” he told a news conference.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan and Doina Chiaku; Editing by Chisu Nomiyama and Cynthia Osterman

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