On Monday, a group of 30 progressive members of the House of Representatives signed a letter to the Biden White House, asking that Joe Biden consider negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin as a means for bringing about a peaceful resolution to the war in Ukraine.
The New York Post reports that the letter’s signatories include Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.). The letter asks Biden to consider beginning a “proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.”
“We urge you to make vigorous diplomatic efforts in support of a negotiated settlement and ceasefire, engage in direct talks with Russia [and] explore prospects for a new European security arrangement acceptable to all parties that will allow for a sovereign and independent Ukraine,” the letter reads.
For the last several months, the Biden Administration has refused to take any steps towards peaceful negotiations with Russia, insisting that any decision to return to the negotiating table must be made by Ukraine.
“We’ve been very, very clear that this is a decision that [Ukraine] President [Volodymyr] Zelensky is going to have to make when it comes to any type of conversation with Russia – any type of negotiation,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday. “That is something that Ukrainians need to make; we will continue to support them as long as it takes.”
The lawmakers went on to say in their letter that the United States should play a larger role in possible peace talks due to the fact that the U.S. has already given tens of billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine since Russia first invaded in late February of this year.
“We believe such involvement in this war also creates a responsibility for the United States to seriously explore all possible avenues – including direct engagement with Russia – to reduce harm and support Ukraine in achieving a peaceful settlement,” the lawmakers continued. They also pointed to the war’s impact on the American economy, including “elevated gas and food prices at home, fueling inflation and high oil prices for Americans in recent months.”
There has been increased talk of possible negotiations as the only realistic solution to the war in recent months, particularly after Russia declared the annexation of four territories in eastern Ukraine where the majority of the population are ethnic Russians. The war has gone on for eight months now, with no end in sight.
The sudden shift by the large portion of House Democrats may have been influenced by the far-left base’s attitudes towards American intervention in Ukraine. Ocasio-Cortez has seen two of her own town hall events in her home district disrupted by protesters, who have accused her of becoming part of the Democratic establishment by supporting billions in foreign aid to Ukraine, which the protesters said could lead to nuclear war with Russia.