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There is growing concern about what Tuesday’s US elections may mean for Ukraine and US support for the country, amid concerns that republican growth may weaken US support for Kiev.

Ukrainian officials and lawmakers are watching polls and analyzing the comments of their counterparts.

“We hope that for our sake we will not become a victim of the guerrilla debate that is now taking place in the US,” said POLITICO Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, former Ukrainian deputy prime minister and now deputy of the opposition. “It’s fear because we are very heavily dependent not only on US support, but also on US leadership to sustain the joint efforts of other nations.”

National minority leader Kevin McCarthy, the potential next speaker if the Republicans win, said last month that there would be no “blank check” for Ukraine if the House returned to Republican control. The Biden administration has tried to allay concerns about the government’s commitment to supporting Ukraine in the fight against the invasion of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but populist republican sentiment in Congress demands less support for Kiev and more attention to US domestic problems.

“I am concerned about the Trump wing in the republic,” said Mia Willard, a Ukrainian-American living and working in Kiev. “I recently read about Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s promise that ‘not another penny he will go to Ukraine if the Republicans regain control of Congress. “

Republicans, according to the latest polls are favored take over the House and possibly the Senate on Tuesday’s vote.

“I hope that regardless of the election results,” Willard said, “the cross-party consensus on supporting Ukraine during the genocide of the Ukrainian nation by Russia will continue, which I cannot call anything other than genocide after I witnessed Russia’s war crimes with my own eyes. into now occupied territories, ”said Willard, who is a researcher at the International Center for Political Studies in the Ukrainian capital.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin is confident that US military and financial support for his country will continue after the end of his term of office. “I don’t see a critical number of Republican people calling for aid cuts,” said POLITICO. Klimkin also admitted that the congressional procedure for considering aid to Ukraine may become more complex.

Klimkin said he believed the US stance towards Ukraine was “critical” to Washington outside the Ukrainian conflict – “not only with regard to Russia, but also about how the US will be viewed by China.”

Voters are lining up outside the Cuyahoga District Electoral Center in Cleveland, Ohio | Dustin Franz / AFP via Getty Images

For Ukraine, Klimkin said the “real risk” was the debate in Washington on both sides of the aisle that “the United States gives far more than all of Europe” to Kiev’s war effort.

According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the United States has achieved a combined commitment to military, financial and humanitarian aid to over EUR 52 billion, while EU countries and institutions have reached a total of just over EUR 29 billion.

“The United States is now pledging almost twice as much as all EU countries and institutions combined. This is a modest result for larger European countries, especially as many of their commitments arrive in Ukraine with long delays, ”said Christoph Trebesch, head of the support tracker development team for Ukraine at the Kiel Institute.

Europe’s position

If the Republicans win on Tuesday’s vote, there is also concern that without US leadership, Ukraine will slide off Europe’s political agenda, depriving Ukraine of the support it needs to “win over the Russian monster,” Klympush-Tsintsadze said. .

Klympush-Tsintsadze said if the worst happens and US support weakens, Klympush-Tsintsadze said she had some hopes that Europe would continue to be tough. She found in Europe “much more sobriety in assessing what Russia is and what it can do, and I hope there will be enough votes in Europe to ensure there is no weakening of support,” she said.

Others are less optimistic about how tough and credible Europeans would be had Washington not provoked and incited. Several officials and lawmakers highlighted the Balkan wars in the 1990s and how the Clinton administration backed away, arguing that Europeans should only take the initiative to intervene diplomatically and militarily later.

“We in Ukraine are closely watching US developments and the setup of Congress following the mid-term elections,” said Iuliia Osmolovska, president of the Transatlantic Dialogue Center and senior employee of GLOBSEC, a global think-tank based in Bratislava.

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A local resident is cycling on a street in Izyum, eastern Ukraine, September 14, 2022 | Juan Barreto / AFP via Getty Images)

“This may affect the current determination of the American political establishment to continue supporting Ukraine, primarily militarily. Especially considering the voices of some Republicans calling for a freeze of support for Ukraine, ”she said.

But Osmolovska remains hopeful, noting that “Ukraine has enjoyed cross-party support in the war with Russia since the first days of the invasion in February this year.” He also believes that President Joe Biden would have room for maneuver to act more independently in terms of military aid to Ukraine, without gaining approval from Congress, thanks to the rules that already exist.

However, he does not rule out the “risk of a certain exhaustion” of the allies, arguing that Ukraine must redouble diplomatic efforts to prevent this. It should be emphasized, she said, that “our western partners only benefit from enabling Ukraine to defeat Russia as soon as possible” – because a protracted conflict is not in anyone’s interest.

“You can feel in the air that we are winning the war, although it’s not over yet,” said Glib Dovgych, a software engineer from Kiev.

“If the flow of money and equipment decreases, it will not mean our defeat, but it will mean a much longer war with much greater loss of life. And since many other allies look to the US in their decisions to support us, if the US cuts its aid, other countries such as Germany, France and Italy are likely to follow suit, ”said Dovgych.

Yaroslav Azhnyuk, president and co-founder of Petcube, a technology company that develops smart pet devices, says that “it is clear that opinions on how to end Russia’s war with Ukraine are being used for domestic political rivalry in the US.”

He is worried about the influence of American entrepreneurs and investors on the American political opinion, mentioning, inter alia, David Sacks, Elon Musk and Chamath Palihapitiya. “They publicly shared their views, saying that Ukraine should give up Crimea to Russia or that the United States should stop supporting Ukraine to avoid a global nuclear war.”

Azhnyuk added, “I see, nukes are scary. But what will happen in the next 5-10 years after Ukraine gives up any part of its territory or the conflict is frozen. Such a scenario would signal to the whole world that nuclear terrorism is working. “

Mykhailo Podolak, advisor to the office of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, said that regardless of the results of the US mid-term, Kyiv is “convinced” that cross-party support for Ukraine will remain in both houses of Congress. Both Republicans and Democrats expressed solidarity with Ukraine, and this attitude will remain “a reflection of the will of the American people,” he said.

The Ukrainian side counts on America’s leadership in important issues of defense aid, in particular in developing the capabilities of the Ukrainian air defense system, financial support, tightening sanctions against Moscow and recognizing Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, said POLITICO Podolak.

And it’s not just about Ukraine, said Klympush-Cintsadze, former deputy prime minister.

“Too much in the world depends on this war,” she said. “It is not just about restoring our territorial integrity. It’s not just about our freedom and our chance for the future, survival as a nation and survival as a country – it will have drastic consequences for the geopolitics of the world, ”said Klympush-Tsintsadze.

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