EDITORIAL: U.S. should not wobble on Ukraine

Oct. 27—We see unfortunate but unmistakable signs of fraying in the West's political support of Ukraine.

Last week Kevin McCarthy, who figures to be the next speaker of the House should the Republicans make the expected gains in next month's off-year elections, signaled that a GOP majority would cut back on military assistance to the Ukrainian government. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell quickly said that was not the case in his chamber, but it still takes both sides of the Capitol to pass legislation.

On Monday 30 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus — including Ilhan Omar of Minnesota's 5th District — released a letter to President Joe Biden imploring him to press for talks between Ukraine and Russia. The letter cited the inflationary effects of the conflict and the risk of nuclear war.

The blowback was immediate, and the caucus rescinded the letter on Tuesday. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the leader of the group, implausibly said the letter "unfortunately was released by staff without vetting." But Politico reported that Jayapal had personally approved releasing the letter, which was reportedly drafted in June but withheld until this week.

There are not many issues on which Donald Trump and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez see eye-to-eye, but apparently they see virtues in appeasing Russian President Vladimir Putin. There are none.

There is no room for Kyiv to negotiate with an invader bent on destroying Ukraine and Ukrainian culture. Any cease fire, any freeze in the fighting, would merely give Putin time to restock his shattered military infrastructure and opportunity to lock in the territorial gains now being whittled away by Ukraine's counteroffensive.

Trump was blatantly wrong in February when he praised the invasion as a stroke of "genius." Jayapal is wrong eight months later to push for talks. McCarthy is wrong to oppose continuing military support for Ukraine next year.

This is not a war chosen by Ukraine. It can end anytime Putin wants to end it by withdrawing his forces and abandoning his illegal annexation claims. Until that happens, the fighting will continue. And while it does, the United States and its allies must continue to support the brave Ukrainians fighting for freedom and democracy.