Ukrainians keep a wary eye on U.S. midterm elections, fearing a loss of support

by | Oct 19, 2022 | Top Stories

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Ukrainian servicemen prepare to fire at Russian positions from a U.S.-supplied M777 howitzer in the Kharkiv region on July 14.

Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

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Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

KYIV, Ukraine — Sitting on a park bench by a tram stop in Kontraktova Square, Marta Makarova, a 21-year-old budding social media influencer, takes a break from talking with two friends about Instagram to talk instead about the war. Makarova explains how much of their safety depends on U.S. support. “We have some problems in our country,” she says, “and we need help, very, very, very much.” Her friend Kyrylo Bessarab, 20, a photographer, nods his head. He holds up his phone. He says the top issues trending on his social media channels are the upcoming U.S. elections and billionaire Elon Musk’s controversial comments about negotiating an end to the war.

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From left: Friends Marta Makarova, Kyrylo Bessarab, 20, and Chistyakova Valeriya, sit in Kontraktova Square in Kyiv on Oct. 11. They are worried about the possible loss of U.S. support for Ukraine if Republicans win the House in next month’s midterm elections.

Franco Ordoñez /NPR

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Franco Ordoñez /NPR

“I know in the States there’s going to be elections,” Bessarab says. “Soon there might be some changes and society may be shaken.” Plugged-in Ukrainians are keeping a close eye on next month’s U.S. midterm elections. The likelihood that Republicans will take control of the House has triggered concerns about long-term support for the war effort. This week, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy warned that his party members will not write “a blank check” to Ukraine if they win control of the lower chamber next year.

“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” he told Punchbowl News in an interview published Tuesday. Many Ukrainians — elected officials and citizens alike — worry about how long the money will keep flowing.

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U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 29. He warned this week that his party members would not write a “blank check” to support Ukraine if they take control of the House.

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