Rep. Victoria Spartz, an Indiana Republican, addresses reporters while wearing the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
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- Republicans are concerned over Rep. Victoria Spartz’s pointed criticism of Zelenskyy, per Politico.
- “It is not helpful to what we’re trying to do and I’m not sure her facts are accurate,” a GOP lawmaker said.
- Spartz earlier this month accused both Biden and Zelenskyy of “playing politics” with the war effort.
Republicans are becoming increasingly concerned with GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz’s pointed criticism of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his top aides, with many in the House GOP caucus distressed that her stance could be hurting the American alliance with the war-torn country at a critical time, according to Politico.
While President Joe Biden and most members of the Republican caucus have expressed unequivocal support of Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of the country in February, Spartz’s comments have led some GOP lawmakers to worry that her words could also boost the small minority of Republicans who have opposed the billions of dollars in American aid flowing to the country.
“Her naiveness is hurting our own people,” a Republican lawmaker on the House Foreign Affairs Committee told Politico. “It is not helpful to what we’re trying to do and I’m not sure her facts are accurate … We have vetted these guys.”
The lawmaker also told the news outlet that the Indiana congresswoman’s remarks could potentially “hurt” the ongoing effort to aid the Ukrainian people.
Since February, the United States has committed over $7 billion in aid to Ukraine, according to The Associated Press.
Earlier this month, Spartz — a businesswoman who was born in Ukraine and emigrated to the United States in her 20s — released a statement criticizing both Biden and Zelenskyy for “playing politics” as it related to military strategy and called for a “proper oversight of critical infrastructure and delivery of weapons and aid” by Congress.
“President Biden has to stop playing politics, have a clear strategy and align security assistance with our strategy,” she wrote, adding that “President Zelensky has to stop playing politics and theater, and start governing to better support his military and local governments.”
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry swiftly responded, blasting Spartz for what they said was “baseless speculation” on the part of the freshman congresswoman.
“We advise Ms. Spartz to stop trying to earn extra political capital on baseless speculation around the topic of war in our country and the grief of Ukrainians,” said spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko in a statement on Facebook. “Especially cynical are manipulations about Ukraine and its leadership from congresswomen of Ukrainian origin.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds a press conference with Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin on July 6, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
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A House Republican who spoke with Politico said that Spartz had become known for attending briefings for committees where she is not a member, including meetings on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where several members have spoken to her privately about her comments.
And Biden administration officials have also taken note of her statements, aware that her sentiments could greatly affect the Western alliance that has so far kept the entire country from falling to Putin.
Per Politico, Spartz was briefed about her allegations in a classified environment late last week.
While issues of corruption in Ukraine have been raised by some Western officials in the past, such concerns have largely been dismissed in the wake of the brutal assault against the country.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Politico that he differed with Spartz on her claims.
“I don’t share her criticisms,” he told the outlet. “I believe that the Zelenskyy government and the Ukrainian people have risen to the moment.”
Spartz in the past has called for more stringent oversight of the weaponry that has been sent to Ukraine by the US government, and she has needled Zelenskyy for not “understanding” the full scope of the war.
“You are not preparing for war,” Spartz said of the country’s leadership in a Ukrainian publication last week. “You even act like you don’t have a war! You do not understand that you have the biggest war after the Second World War!”
But Spartz stressed that she isn’t questioning Zelenskyy’s support of the country’s war effort, but simply wants to address what she sees as oversight issues with the war effort.
“I am not saying that the support of your president is not there,” she told the Ukrainian publication. “I am saying that some of your country’s actions are troubling us. And if problems are not voiced, it does not mean that they do not exist.”