Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged the United States to remain united in its support amid concerns over the fallout from a Republican victory in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
If the US Democrats lose control of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the colossal financial and military support provided to Ukraine under the Democrats could wane.
Ahead of Tuesday’s results, Zelenskiy called on US politicians to maintain “unwavering unity” and follow Ukraine’s lead “until peace is restored”.
“Democracies must not stop on their way to victory,” Zelenskiy said. “When Russia decided to destroy our freedom and erase Ukraine from the face of the Earth, we immediately united and we keep this unity.”
Most Republicans supported the idea of helping Ukraine defend itself against Russia. In fact, Ukraine has been one of the few issues to garner strong all-party support in recent years.
But in the run-up to the midterm elections, figures in the Republican Party — particularly those on the Donald Trump wing — have questioned continued funding for Ukraine.
Right-wing populist Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene said at a Trump rally in Iowa last month that “not another penny will go to Ukraine” if Republicans win, because US interests must come first. first.
House Minority Leader Republican Kevin McCarthy, who could become the chamber’s next speaker, said that while Ukraine was important, there would be no “blank check” if Republicans controlled the country. Congress.
However, other Republicans criticized the comments. Republican Adam Kinzinger said McCarthy was trying to appease the far right in the party to be chosen as the speaker.
Former Vice President Mike Pence called for continued support, as did House Armed Services Committee member Michael Waltz, who pointed out that the majority of Republicans support aid to Ukraine as well as several key Republican senators. such as Mitch McConnell, the Republican Leader in the Senate.
The United States is by far Ukraine’s largest donor. Since the invasion, the US has given Ukraine $18.9bn (£16.3bn) in aid and pledged almost twice as much as Ukraine’s European allies.
Amid Washington Post reports that the US has asked Kyiv to signal it is open to negotiations to appease allies in parts of Europe, Africa and Latin America worried about a protracted war, Ukraine doubled down on its peace terms.
Ukraine has said it will start negotiations only after Russian troops leave all of Ukraine, including Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine occupied by Russia in 2014. Without it, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Radio Svoboda on Tuesday, any agreement will be a temporary truce. which Russia will use to rearm and attempt to reoccupy Ukraine.
Podolyak claimed in the interview that the Washington Post might get its information from pro-Russian politicians, describing the reports as part of the “news program of the Russian Federation“. He later went further, tweeting that the Kremlin was “desperately clinging” to the US midterm elections.
“They sincerely believe Ukraine can surrender ‘to the call’ of the White House and desperately cling to the election,” Podolyak tweeted.
For the United States, Podolyak told Radio Svoboda, it is “extremely beneficial” for Ukraine to win the war, partly because it will send a signal to other authoritarian leaders that if they attack another country, the international law will be respected, and on the other hand, because the United States and its allies have invested too much to let Russia win.
“If Ukraine does not win the war… [then] despite significant and powerful financial, economic, military and advisory assistance from NATO countries, especially the United States, Russia won. You understand what will be proven in this case. That the Russian army … is much better, Russia really has the “second army in the world” [and] Russia can dictate the terms.
In further comments to the Italian Repubblica, which reported that Ukraine’s allies were planning to start negotiations after Ukraine takes back its southern region of Kherson, Podolyak said: “We have no choice … If we stop defending ourselves, we will cease to exist. Literally. Physically. We will continue to fight even if we are stabbed in the back.
Ukraine’s allies, at least in the current framework, don’t seem close to forcing Ukraine to negotiate with Russia – choosing instead to reiterate that it is Kyiv’s choice when and how negotiations take place.
French President Emmanuel Macron told a Cop27 press conference that while negotiations were to take place at some point, “they should take place within the limits of who will be elected by Ukraine.”
US State Department spokesman Ned Price told a briefing in Washington on Tuesday that Russia was doing the opposite of signaling it was ready for negotiations by “escalating the war”.
But the United States has confirmed that it is keeping channels open with Russia to calm global fears of nuclear war. US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said it was in the US interest to talk to Russia, despite the war, adding that officials “know who we are dealing with. “.