US midterm elections won’t weaken Washington’s support for Ukraine, conference says


A major international security conference kicked off Friday in Halifax with repeated assurances that the results of the US midterm elections will not mean a major shift in US support for Ukraine.

New Hampshire Democratic U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen told the opening panel of the Halifax International Security Forum that there was clear bipartisan support in Congress for the actions Washington has taken to support Ukraine. – despite suggestions from a leading Republican that the days of signing « blank cheques » for the embattled Eastern European country are over.

Shaheen delivered his speech to a large delegation of Ukrainians, including civil society activists and the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister.

She spoke after the conference watching a recorded speech by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who argued in favor of the peace negotiation proposal his country has presented to the United Nations.

“I was happy with the outcome of the elections in the United States because so many of those who were the most extreme were defeated, and that was a good sign. It was a good sign for democracy” said Shaheen, who sits on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee.

« But one of the things that I think is important to remind people [of] is that we continue to have very strong bipartisan support for the policies that the United States is engaged in, supporting the Ukrainians in this unjust war. »

Representatives on both sides of the congressional aisle recognise, she said, that « this war is about more than whether Ukraine is able to maintain its territorial integrity » and that the threat to peace and international stability cannot be ignored.

Shaheen’s comments were echoed later Friday by her New York colleague, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

« Although some members of the Republican Party may not want to fund additional humanitarian aid, additional aid for military support, additional support for refugee crises around the world, I believe the American people support American values ​​of freedom and ability of a country like Ukraine to fight for its freedom, » said Gillibrand.

Defense Minister Anita Anand speaks during the opening session of the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax on Friday, November 18, 2022. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Defense Minister Anita Anand told the conference that every discussion she has had with US cabinet secretaries has been reassuring and that she does not sense a change in policy on the horizon. .

« In my conversations with [Defence] Secretary Lloyd Austin, I hear very strong bilateral support for Ukraine. when secretary [of State] Antony Blinken was in Canada, he reiterated this position,” Anand told reporters at the opening of the forum.

« I expect that bipartisan support to continue. Every conversation I’ve had has pointed in that direction. »

Russia wants ‘respite’, says Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy opened the conference with a short video delivered entirely in English. In it, he stressed the importance of preparing the ground for negotiations through Ukraine’s 10-point « peace formula », which includes the withdrawal of all Russian troops from his country, as well as energy and food security.

« Russia is now looking for a short truce, a respite to reunite with friends, » Zelenskyy said.

« Someone may call this the end of the war, but such a respite will only make the situation worse. »

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Ukraine has come under pressure from allies, including the United States, to set the terms for peace talks. As he recently did with G-20 leaders, Zelenskyy warned that calls for territorial concessions are unacceptable.

« This [kind of] immoral compromise will lead to new blood,” he said.

Olga Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, said there were a number of things her country was ready to move on, but the world needed to remember who they were dealing with in Moscow.

« First and foremost, we are committed to negotiations. Every war ends with negotiations, » she said.

« But it is very clear to us that any attempt to negotiate with [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin is not a path to success. »


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