In a letter to Biden, 30 members of the Democratic liberal wing led by the Rep. Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) called on Biden to “move aggressively and redouble efforts to find a realistic framework for a ceasefire.”
Andrei Sibiha, Ukraine’s deputy head of the presidency and foreign affairs adviser, declined to comment directly on the Liberal Democrats’ letter, but said Kyiv’s position was “very clear” and the plan was proposed by President Vladimir Zelensky The five-point peace plan of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
In his speech, Zelensky said his plan focused on “the determination to punish aggression, protect lives, restore security and territorial integrity, security and self-defense.”
Ukrainian troops advance on Russian fighters in Kherson and Bakhmut
Biden and the leaders of other G7 democratic economic powers backed Zelensky’s call for a “just peace” in a statement this month.
Such peace “should include” ensuring respect for territorial sovereignty enshrined in the UN Charter, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union said in a statement. A full Russian withdrawal from Ukrainian territory will be required.
Sibiha also said it was “unable to negotiate” with Putin following “illegal annexation attempts” and “sham referendums” in four Ukrainian regions partially occupied by Russian troops late last month.
In response to the letter, White House officials reiterated Biden’s position that it is up to Zelensky and Ukraine to decide when or whether to enter peace talks.
Sibiha added that Ukraine had “complete confidence” in the support of “the United States and the American people”, whom he called Ukraine’s number one. 1 ally.
But the letter inevitably adds to Kyiv’s concerns about maintaining Washington’s vital financial and military support, especially if Republicans regain control of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections. Some Republican leaders have expressed interest in reviewing U.S. support for Ukraine.
Liberal Democrat lawmakers are a small but growing group of voices calling for Ukrainians to engage directly with the Russians to end the war, or at least institute a ceasefire, despite Putin’s repeated refusal to meet and talk directly to the Russians. .
Russia’s methodical attack exploits vulnerabilities in Ukraine’s power system
Ukrainians are deeply wary of being drawn into Washington’s internal politics, especially after being embroiled in President Donald Trump’s first impeachment scandal, and they say they want to hear a different perspective. But people are frustrated by what they see as a lack of understanding of Putin’s views.
“We are not going to be sandwiched between Republicans and Democrats,” said a senior Ukrainian official who asked not to be named, discussing sensitive international relations. “This is the internal politics of foreign governments. The position of this war will have The difference is to be expected.”
“The problem is that in this war, it’s clear that Russia doesn’t have the ability to negotiate in good faith,” the senior official said, noting Zelensky’s position that Russia’s demands are only open to discussion after Ukrainian territory is restored .
“We had the experience of 2014 when we had an agreement and how that ended,” the senior official said. “It’s good for the Russians to take a break from the fight. But given how much damage they’ve done, we have nothing to lose.”
“The dialogue is for both sides to take a step back for the greater purpose,” the senior official continued. “In the current circumstances, they have done so much damage. They alone have ruined the opportunity for discussion. The only thing left is It’s the nukes. Other than that, they’ve done everything to us.”
Another Ukrainian official, who also declined to be named in order to preserve ties with Washington, was more outspoken. “This is an encouraging sign for Putin,” the second official said of the Lib Dems letter.
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Olysia Lutsevich, head of the Ukraine Forum at Chatham House in London, said negotiating the terms was “impossible”.
“Some people said, ‘Look, Finland — they lost some of their territory, but they kept a nation-state,'” Lutsevich said by phone from Berlin. “But you don’t want to negotiate with an enemy who wants to completely destroy you. It’s not a viable offer.”
“The proposal to negotiate with Putin is reminiscent of the appeasement of Hitler,” Lutsevich said, adding that the U.S. “cannot negotiate on Ukraine without Ukraine”.
“Ukraine is defending the way of life that Russia wants to destroy,” she said. “That’s what it’s about. It’s not about territory.”
A European diplomat, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the language of the letter was “vague” and likely would not affect the position of EU member states.
“Ukrainians will naturally point out that the ceasefire will help Russia to regroup and train their newly recruited forces,” the diplomat said.