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Former NATO chief: Democrats should compromise with Republicans to secure Ukraine aid

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 17, 2024 7:04 PM 2 min read
Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a briefing in Kyiv on Sept. 13, 2022. (Yevhen Kotenko/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

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U.S. Democrats should negotiate a deal with Republicans to reach a compromise on aid for Ukraine as a Russian victory would ultimately weaken the U.S., former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview with Politico released on Jan. 17.

Senate Republicans blocked the approval of $61.4 billion in aid for Ukraine in December, largely over border security measures. The two sides have since been unable to come to an agreement, with Republicans insisting aid be tied to significant changes in U.S. border and immigration policies that are widely unpopular with Democrats.

U.S. President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders have indicated their willingness to make concessions on the border in order to reach a consensus on Ukraine aid. Politico reported on Jan. 16 that Biden invited top leaders from both parties for negotiations on Ukraine and other spending priorities Jan. 17.

At the time of this publication, there are no reports yet on any potential progress made in those talks.

According to Rasmussen, Democrats should "accommodate" Republicans on the border and pass a spending bill that addresses the issue along with aid for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel.

A resolution to the ongoing spending fight, especially if it occurs before the beginning of the general presidential election, would benefit Biden and the Democrats electorally, Rasmussen said.

“If I were in the leadership of the Democratic campaign, I would not hesitate to close this issue — to accommodate Republicans to make it a non-issue in the coming election campaign.”

Biden and other top Democrats have warned that abandoning Ukraine would have severe consequences that would impact the U.S. and its Western allies.

Rasmussen echoed the sentiment, saying that the U.S. stopping support for Ukraine “would be the withdrawal from Afghanistan on steroids.” A Russian victory would weaken the U.S., he added.

He said he would actively take part in trying to convince Republicans and other U.S. lawmakers hesitant on Ukraine aid that it is necessary to continue, and disputed the regularly repeated assertion that the U.S. is shouldering the burden of supporting Ukraine alone.

“It’s not true when they are arguing that Europeans do not step up to the plate and do not share a fair burden of support for Ukraine,” he said.

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